About the Cleft Lip and Palate Program

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is one of the nation’s leading centers for treating cleft lip and palate.

Cleft lip and palate are the most common congenital abnormalities of the mouth and lip, affecting up to 1 in 600 to 800 live births. The defect may involve the lip, the palate, the alveolus (the gum between the lip and the palate), or any combination of these. Cleft lip and palate may be isolated or part of a syndrome.

Cleft Lip & Palate showing unilateral complete Example of unilateral complete cleft lip, extending from one side of the lip into the nose.

With each case, we oversee your child’s transformation — from diagnosis and surgery through ongoing treatment — to provide the best possible outcomes. 

Our experienced, multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive, coordinated care for children and teenagers with cleft lip and palate. Over the last 5 years, we have treated 9,026 patients with cleft lip and cleft palate conditions during 16,368 visits.

Specialized treatment includes:

We also work closely with the 22q and You Center at CHOP, the world leader in diagnosis and management of children with a chromosome 22q11.2 deletion, a genetic disorder that can cause a variety of health problems, including cleft palate.

Your child’s appointment with the Cleft Lip and Palate Program

The Cleft Lip and Palate Program takes a team-focused approach to treating cleft patients, bringing together plastic surgeons, pediatricians, orthodontists and other specialists in order to provide the most comprehensive care for your child.

We are located on the first floor in the Richard D. Wood Pediatric Ambulatory Care Center on CHOP’s Main Campus.

Your child's initial evaluation will include:

  • Examination by our plastic surgeons
  • Imaging studies as needed, along with referral to other pediatric specialists when indicated
  • Discussion of cleft lip and palate surgery and follow-up
  • Discussion of non-surgical treatments and long-term care, including:
    • Nasoalveolar molding program for infants with clefts of the lip and palate
    • Longitudinal orthodontic care for complex dental issues that often accompany facial clefting
    • Specialized speech and language evaluation and treatment

Learn more about why you should choose The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for your child's cleft lip and cleft palate care.


Next Steps
Smiling young boy

Why Choose the Cleft Lip and Palate Program

Founded in 1953 as part of our internationally recognized Facial Reconstruction Center, our Cleft Lip and Palate Program is one of the largest in the nation.

baby in nicu

Diagnosis and Treatment of Cleft Lip and Palate

In this video, clinicians and patient families talk about the diagnosis and treatment of cleft lip and palate, the most common congenital facial anomaly.