Health Information

Cleft Lip / Cleft Palate

What are cleft lip and cleft palate?

Cleft lip and palate are congenital abnormalities of the mouth and lip. A normal fetus has a split lip and palate, but early in pregnancy, the sides of the lip and the roof of the mouth should fuse. Failure of fusion results in cleft lip, which ranges from mild (notching of the lip) to severe (opening from lip to nose), and/or cleft palate, which can extend from the front of the mouth to the throat and often includes the lip.

Types of cleft lip/cleft palate conditions we treat

The Cleft Lip and Palate Program at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia treats the following types of cleft lip/cleft palate conditions:

Illustration of a unilateral incomplete cleft lip

Illustration of a unilateral complete cleft lip

Illustration of a bilateral complete cleft lip


Learn more about how we treat children with cleft lip and cleft palate at CHOP »

Reviewed by: Jesse A. Taylor, MD
Date: September 2011

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