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Having a baby born with a cleft can be upsetting, but cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects, and both can be corrected.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are openings or splits in the upper lip; the roof of the mouth, or palate; or both. Cleft lip and cleft palate result when facial structures that are developing in an unborn baby don't close completely.
Treatment involves surgery or a series of surgeries to repair the defect and therapies to improve any related conditions. Treatment seeks to improve the child's ability to eat, speak and hear normally, and achieve a normal facial appearance.
On this edition of the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Angela Mattke, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician and host of "Ask the Mayo Mom", discusses cleft lip and cleft palate with three Mayo Clinic Children’s Center experts: Dr. Samir Mardini, chair of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Dr. Shelagh Cofer, a pediatric otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon; and Dr. Waleed Gibreel, a craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgeon.