Product News and Recalls

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Treatment

If you know an infant or child with cleft lip or cleft palate, you may be wondering: how do you treat cleft lip and cleft palate? How is it repaired? Is it difficult to repair?

Each individual case is different and your doctor, or a team of doctors, will come up with an individual plan, based on the severity of the condition.

The following specialists may become involves in treating a child with cleft lip or cleft palate:

  • Pediatrician,
  • plastic surgeon,
  • oral surgeon,
  • pediatric dentist,
  • orthodontist,
  • ear, nose and throat doctor (otolaryngologist),
  • auditory or hearing specialist,
  • speech therapist,
  • genetic counselor,
  • social worker,
  • psychologist,
  • and nurse.

Often, multiple surgeries are involved, including an initial surgery to repair the cleft lip, a later surgery to repair cleft palate, and additional follow-up surgeries as the child grows. Sometimes a procedure known as teethridge bone grafting will be necessary, or other surgeries to improve the facial appearance. Occasionally jaw surgery is required.

Depending on the severity of the condition, additional therapy may be necessary, including speech, hearing and psychological counseling.

The chances of another baby being born with a cleft lip or cleft palate depend on the cause of the condition. If genetics are involved and one of the parents had the condition, then the chances are higher. If an environmental factor such as Topamax use by the mother during early pregnancy is the cause, and the reason has been removed, then the chance a subsequent baby has cleft lip or cleft palate will likely decrease.

Topamax, or topiramate, is an anti-seizure drug manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. It is also prescribed to treat migraines and bi-polar disorder. When used during the first trimester of pregnancy, it increases the risk of cleft lip, cleft palate, and other oral cleft defects by a factor of 21. If you or a loved one used Topamax during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with cleft lip, cleft palate or other birth defects, contact Lopez McHugh, LLP for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-703-7070.