Cleft palate and cleft lip care in Wichita

Wesley Healthcare offers expert care for babies and children with cleft palates and cleft lips through Wesley Children's Hospital. Because of our coordinated model of care, Wesley offers the only tea outside of Kansas City to provide cleft-craniofacial corrective treatment in the state of Kansas.

For more information about our cleft-craniofacial program, please call (316) 962-3627.

What is cleft lip and cleft palate?

Cleft palate is a treatable birth abnormality in which the roof of a baby's mouth, or palate, does not develop normally. It may affect one or both sides, and it can extend the full length of the child's palate.

Also a treatable condition, cleft lip can range from a small notch to a split in the lip that runs to the base of the nose. A child can have one or both of these conditions at birth.

What causes cleft palate and cleft lip?

The exact cause of cleft palate and cleft lip is not completely understood. However, these conditions typically result from abnormal facial development during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Doctors agree that your baby may be more likely to develop one of these conditions if you:

  • Have a family history of cleft palate
  • Use certain medications while pregnant
  • Use alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy
  • Smoke during pregnancy
  • Are exposed to radiation or certain infections during pregnancy

Children born with a cleft lip, cleft palate or other craniofacial abnormality may have misaligned teeth, an abnormally shaped nose, a deformed mouth, speech difficulties, recurring ear infections, hearing difficulties and eating difficulties, which may result in a failure to gain weight.

Cleft palate and cleft lip treatment

Treatment for cleft lip and cleft palate has improved greatly in recent years. For most children, we are able to repair the abnormality, as well as help the child regain regular speech and eating abilities.

Parents are given the same comprehensive report as the treating or referring physicians, so everyone understands the treatment plan. If surgery or multiple surgeries are required, they are typically done when the child is one year old or younger. Examinations usually take place in a child-friendly, clinical environment, and surgeries take place at our Pediatric Surgery Clinic.

Our multispecialty team

Due to the unique nature of caring for a child, we employ a multispecialty approach to treat children with cleft-craniofacial abnormalities.

Our specialists examine your child, share information and, together, design a comprehensive treatment plan. This ensures quality care and provides coordinated, ongoing treatment and reevaluation, as appropriate.

The multidisciplinary team of cleft-craniofacial experts at Wesley Children's Hospital includes:

  • Neonatologists
  • Geneticists and genetic counselors
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists)
  • Orthodontists
  • Pediatric dentists
  • Audiologists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Pediatricians
  • Advanced practice nurses
  • Social workers