Although the reasons of cleft lip are not definite, the possible factors are genetic heritage, drugs taken during pregnancy, x-rays, stress, traumas, or virus-based diseases, and surplus or deficiency of vitamins. The rate of cleft lip and palate cases is 1/1000 births.
When the baby is 6-10 weeks old and at least 4.5 kilograms, the cleft lip and palate can be corrected. Operation at an early age might leave surgical marks and might affect the development of the upper jaw and face. Additional operations might be necessary to erase these marks. If it is too late to do the surgery, then the child will learn to speak with a cleft palate although it is usually very difficult to master the pronunciation.
In order to be able to achieve better results with cleft palates, a second surgery might be necessary. For the children that have a cleft on the teeth line, inserting a piece of bone to the cleft line produces good results. This bone is called alveolar bone graft. It helps the permanent teeth to develop better. As for the children with double clefts and problematic columella, the surgery must be performed before they start school.
The duration of surgery depends on the diagnosis.