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Cleft Lip And Palate Specialist

Vida Bela Plastic Surgery: Chelsea Snider, MD & & Abby Culver MD

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons located in Plano, TX

A cleft lip and palate affects roughly 1 out of every 700 babies. When left untreated, a cleft lip or cleft palate may interfere with eating, speech development, and hearing. Chelsea Snider, MD, at Vida Bela Plastic Surgery is a pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon dedicated to helping your child live their best life. She specializes in cleft lip and palate surgery and she treats all types of clefts. She creates individualized plans using minimally invasive procedures that provide long-term results. Dr. Snider also travels around the world, completing mission work to help children suffering from cleft lip and palate. To learn more, call the office in Plano, Texas, or click the online booking button to schedule an appointment today.

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Cleft Lip and Palate Q & A

What is a cleft lip and palate?

A cleft lip and cleft palate, also called orofacial clefts, are birth defects that cause a split or opening in the upper lip or roof of your baby’s mouth. 

Cleft lips and cleft palates are very common and occur when tissues in the face and mouth fail to fuse properly during the first 6-8 weeks of pregnancy. 

Cleft lip

A cleft lip is an opening in the upper lip and may range from a small slit to a large opening that extends into the nose. A cleft lip may affect one side or both sides of the upper lip. 

Cleft palate

Your baby’s palate refers to the roof of their mouth. A cleft palate may cause a split or opening in the hard palate (front portion of mouth), soft palate (back portion of the mouth), or both. 

What are other types of orofacial clefts?

Dr. Snider treats all types of orofacial clefts. Some of the other types of clefts include a submucous cleft palate and a bifid uvula.

Submucous cleft palate

A submucous cleft palate is a cleft of the soft palate that’s hidden under the mucosal layer, and as a result, it may go undetected. Difficulty feeding, nasal leakage of breastmilk or formula, chronic ear infections, and hypernasal speech are common symptoms of a submucous cleft palate. 

A submucous cleft palate should be repaired prior to full speech development, especially if your child has hypernasal speech. A nasopharyngoscopy (a small camera placed in the back of the nose) can be used to identify the closure pattern of the palate and air escape during speech in children with a submucous cleft palate.

Bifid uvula

The uvula is the tissue that hangs down in the back of the throat. A split (bifid) uvula may indicate that the palatal muscles needed for speech are misaligned, or it may be a sign of a submucous cleft palate. Hypernasal speech can occur with a bifid uvula or submucous cleft palate. 

What syndromes cause a cleft lip or cleft palate?

Various congenital conditions may also affect the development of the face and skull and cause a cleft lip or cleft palate. 

Conditions associated with a cleft lip and palate include:

  • Pierre Robin sequence
  • Velocardiofacial syndrome
  • Trisomy 13 syndrome
  • Trisomy 18 syndrome
  • Van der Woude syndrome
  • Stickler syndrome
  • Treacher Collins syndrome

These types of syndromes require a multidisciplinary approach to care. Dr. Snider works closely with you and other medical specialists so your child gets the best possible outcome. She also schedules regular follow-up appointments to monitor your child’s growth and development.

What are cleft lip and cleft palate treatments?

Dr. Snider specializes in the treatment of all types of orofacial clefts, including cleft lips and cleft palates, and even does mission work where she corrects these common birth defects. 

For her patients, she creates individualized multidisciplinary care plans aimed at restoring function and appearance and facilitating growth and development. 

She reviews the details of your child’s treatment plan with you so you know what to expect. For a cleft lip, Dr. Snider uses a meticulous repair method to minimize scarring and achieve beautiful outcomes for your child’s lip and nose. For a cleft palate, she may suggest surgical intervention before speech development to prevent delays. 

For other orofacial clefts, Dr. Snider may only recommend surgical intervention if the birth defect affects speech development.

Dr. Snider believes that a cleft lip or cleft palate should not prevent your child from living their best life. For expert care of your child’s orofacial cleft from an experienced pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgeon, call Vida Bela Plastic Surgery or request an appointment online today.