Cleft Lip and Palate Repair

Also known as: cleft lip surgery, cleft lip repair, cleft palate surgery, cleft palate repair.

What is cleft lip and palate repair?

Cleft lip and palate are common facial birth defects that are often seen together. They involve a gap in the lip and palate of the newborn baby. Cleft lip and palate repair refers to the surgical procedures that are used to repair these problems.

What happens during the procedure?

Cleft lip repair is performed under general anesthesia, typically between 3-4 months of age.  The lip skin and muscle are rearranged to close the cleft. The palate repair is typically done when the child is older, between the ages 12-18 months. This repair is performed by mobilizing the tissue inside the mouth and the bringing it together to close the gap.

What are the risk factors?

Bleeding, infection, reactions to the anesthesia, breathing problems and additional surgeries are all potential complications of cleft lip and palate repair.

Reviewed by: Chad A Perlyn, MD

This page was last updated on: 7/9/2018 4:50:46 PM

Upcoming Events

Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) Family Conference

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital invites you to attend a conference designed to provide individuals with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) and their family’s up-to-date information about the possible aspects of BWS and their management. 

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From the Newsdesk

Movie Event Celebrates Children with Craniofacial Differences
04/30/2018 — Children who receive care at the Craniofacial Center at Nicklaus Children’s, along with their families, enjoyed an afternoon of red carpet glamour and photo booth fun on April 28. 
March Patient of the Month: Theodore
03/15/2018 — Meet our March Patient of the Month, Theodore. Theodore was diagnosed with cleft palate, cleft lip and a heart problem when he was only 18 weeks old. After he was born, Theodore had to be admitted into the NICU to be able to perform the necessary surgeries for him to live a healthy life.


Dr. Perlyn discusses "swollen" tongues and whether children with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome will "grow into" their tongues.