What is cleft lip and palate?
Sometimes children are born with a lip, alveolus and/or palate that is “not completely joined”. This is popularly known as a “hare lip” if there is an opening in the upper lip when the child is born. The collective medical name for these problems is the old English term “cleft”, which means a “division” or “split”.
A cleft may be on the left or right side of the face, or it may occur on both sides. The least obvious type of cleft only affects the upper lip, but a cleft may also extend to include the alveolus (tooth socket) and palate. A cleft may also occur in the palate alone. In this case the upper lip is normal but the lower jaw (mandible) may be a little shorter than normal.
At UZ Leuven children who have a problem with “cleft lip and/or palate” are managed by a team of specialists called the “cleft lip and palate team”.