Congratulations on the birth of your new baby. A new baby brings with it a lot of feelings of joy, pride, dread, and sometimes even fears. When a baby has a medical condition, there is an added sense of uncertainty. Who will help our child? What should our child go through? How will we tell our family? We understand the strength of your feelings and want to help. We, at Tandra Dermatology, Laser and Aesthetic Center in Hurghada, offer you some guidance and information about cleft lip.
What is the cleft lip?
A cleft lip is a birth defect that results when the tissues of the lip and the bones of the upper jaw fail to fuse during the early development of the fetus. This failure occurs during the fourth and sixth week of pregnancy, and the condition varies from a small incision in the red part of the lip to a wide gap in the lip and gum line extending to the nostril.
The cleft lip may occur on the left, right, or both sides, and cleft lip surgery is required to repair the cleft lip.
How common is the cleft lip?
About 1 out of every 1,000 babies is born with a cleft lip. About 70% of these children will have cleft palate. The other third will only have a bunny lip. Cleft lip is common in some ethnic groups, and is more common in Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans, and less common in Africans.
Risk factors for cleft lip
Risk factors for cleft lip are as follows:
- Smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
- Having diabetes before pregnancy.
- Weight gain during pregnancy.
- Take certain medications, including some medications for anxiety, depression and epilepsy.
- Having a certain infection during pregnancy, such as German measles.
Causes of the cleft lip
It may surprise you to learn that despite years of research we still don't have a good understanding of why a cleft lip occurs, but most doctors and scientists agree that clefts are a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including medications, infections, maternal illnesses and possibly vitamin deficiencies.
There is recent medical evidence to suggest that mothers who follow a diet rich in folic acid (fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in folic acid) and who take folic acid supplements during pregnancy have a lower risk of having a baby with a cleft lip.
Other birth defects can occur in babies with cleft palate. Some of these flaws are obvious and others are hard to spot. However, most babies who are born with a cleft lip or cleft palate are normal, healthy babies.
What effects can a cleft lip have?
Cleft lip is routinely treated with surgery, and until that happens, infants and young children can face a range of difficulties, such as:
- Breastfeeding problems.
- ear infections; Children with cleft palate are more likely to have fluid buildup in the middle ear and infections, which can affect hearing.
- Dental problems. Cracks in the gums can cause cavities in the teeth. They can usually be corrected with casting, surgery, orthodontics, and other treatments as the child gets older.
- In addition to these medical issues, there may be emotional concerns, especially for older children, and some may experience stress from frequent medical visits or treatments. In cases of large incisions when surgery cannot completely correct the appearance of the lips or nose, young children may feel shy.
How to treat cleft lip
Some parents wonder if their children's cleft lip can be fixed right away. Some even want this to be done before they take their baby home from the hospital. However, it is best to wait until your baby is at least 8 to 12 weeks old before having cleft lip surgery.
Waiting a short time after giving birth has many advantages. This short period allows your child to establish a good pattern of feeding and weight gain, which is important during the recovery period after a cleft lip repair. It also allows you and your family to adjust your lifestyles with the joys and stresses of welcoming a new baby into your family.
It is important to establish a bond between parent and child during the first weeks of life before having to deal with the recovery period after cleft lip surgery. Also, there is no point in fixing the lips too soon, as the results will be the same in both cases.
Can a baby with a cleft lip be breastfed?
This depends on if your baby does not have an annular cleft, he can and is likely to breastfeed successfully, as a cleft lip does not prevent the baby from successfully breastfeeding. However, if your baby also has a cleft palate, he will not be able to generate effective sucking and will not be able to breastfeed successfully.
Some well-meaning friends or medical professionals may encourage you to try to breastfeed your baby anyway. Unfortunately, encouraging a mother to breastfeed a child with a cleft palate only results in mother and child failure. But rest assured, there are ways to feed a baby with a cleft lip and cleft palate.
Are there any instructions I must follow before surgery?
Your child must undergo a physical examination by a doctor at the Dermatology, Laser and Aesthetic Center in Hurghada within 7 days before the surgery to ensure that he is in good health. For your child's safety, it is very important to have an empty stomach when administering anesthesia. Also, please follow the eating and drinking guidelines prior to surgery, if you do not follow these guidelines, your child's surgery will be cancelled.
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What to expect after cleft lip surgery?
Repairing a cleft lip usually takes between two and three hours, and the doctor at Tadara Dermatology, Laser and Aesthetic Center in Hurghada will talk with you once the surgery is over. Your child will wake up in the recovery room after surgery, and this may take 45 minutes to an hour. When your child is awake, he will be taken to sleep. You can accompany your child when he is taken to the room. You may start feeding your baby (from the breast or bottle) once she is stable.
After surgery, your child will have soft splints wrapped around the arms. These splints prevent your child from rubbing the lips. These splints can be easily removed when you carry your baby and have the ability to prevent your child from rubbing the lips, and arm splints must be worn at all other times for two weeks after the cleft lip operation.
Children can always go home the morning after surgery. In some cases, the baby may have difficulty feeding.
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cleft lip prevention
If you have a family history of cleft lip, your doctor may recommend genetic counseling to better understand the risks, and you'll want to do all the things you normally do for a healthy pregnancy, whether or not cleft lip or palate runs in your family, including:
- Make sure you get all Vaccines Recommended before pregnancy.
- If you're taking any medications, check with your doctor before trying to get pregnant, or as soon as you find out you're pregnant.
- Make sure you're eating well, taking folic acid and any other recommended prenatal vitamins.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- Try not to gain too much weight during pregnancy.
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While that cleft lip It can be a serious concern, but the outcome for children is excellent in most cases, and it is best to coordinate the treatment plan as soon as possible at the Freshness Center for Dermatology, Laser and Aesthetics in Hurghada; Because timely surgery can prevent long-term problems with speech and hearing.