About 1 in 500 children are born with cleft lip and/or palate every year. Cleft lip and palate are due to familial genetics and environmental causes.
The cleft lip can be repaired as soon as 2-4 weeks of age but can be delayed for many months to achieve orthodontic corrections prior to surgery. The cleft of the lip and deformity of the nose are reconstructed at this surgery.
The cleft palate is closed at 3-12 months of age to achieve the best possible speech and simplify feeding.
Most residual irregularities of the lip, nose and palate are usually revised prior to starting school.