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Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

According to the National Library of Medicine, cleft lip and palate are birth defects that affect the upper lip and roof of the mouth. They happen when the tissue that forms the roof of the mouth and upper lip do not join before birth. The defect can range from a small notch in the lip to a split that runs into the roof of the mouth and nose. The impact of these defects ranges from no problems to life-threatening issues with eating and breathing.


Internet Resources

Medline Plus: Cleft Lip and Palate
Developed by the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site is a portal for trusted sources of both government-sponsored and privately developed health information.

Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF)
The Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals affected by cleft lip and palate and other facial birth defects thru patient support, family education, and medical research.

Nemours Foundation: Cleft Lip and Palate
The Nemours Foundation sponsors the KidsHealth website which provides trusted information for parents, children and teenagers on a variety of health topics.


  • The Clinician’s Guide to Treating Cleft Palate Speech. Peterson-Falzone, Sally J., et al. 2006
  • Cleft Palate Speech. Peterson-Falzone, S., Hardin-Jones, M., and Karnell, M. 2001
  • A Parent’s Guide to Cleft Lip and Palate. Moller, K., Starr, C., and Johnson, S. 1990

The following resource is available in print in the Health Learning Center or onlineat http://www.nmh.org/nm/health+library+virtual+library:

  • Cleft Lip and Palate: Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health: Infancy through Adolescence. Vol. 1. p422-426. Laberge M. 2006

Journals and Articles

  • “Feeding Interventions for growth and development in infants with cleft lip, cleft palate or cleft lip and palate.” Bessell A et al. Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. 2:CD003315, 2011
  • “Understanding cleft lip and palate. 1: An overview.” Slator R et al. Journal of Family Health Care. 19(3):101-3. 2009
  • “Understanding cleft lip and palate. 2: The first five years.” Slator R et al. Journal of Family Health Care. 19(4):122-5. 2009
  • “Understanding cleft lip and palate. 3: Feeding the baby.” Cole A. et al. Journal of Family Health Care. 19(5):157-8. 2009
  • “Understanding cleft lip and palate. 4: Surgery and continuing care.” Slator R et al. Journal of Family Health Care. 20(1):27-30. 2010
  • “Recent Advances in Presurgical Molding in Cleft Lip and Palate.” Aminpour, S. et al. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head & Neck Surgery. 16(4):339-46, Aug. 2008


To gain a better understanding of how birth defects affect the upper lip and roof of the mouth, visit one of the following sites:



Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Health Learning Center at 312.926.5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateDecember 22, 2011