Lege Artis Medicinae

[THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CARE OF CHILDREN WITH CLEFT LIP AND PALATE IN THE GENERAL PRACTICE]

HIRSCHBERG Jenő

OCTOBER 20, 2004

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2004;14(10)

[The cleft lip and palate (i.e. facial cleft) is a frequent and distorting abnormality. The basics of the successful management are the early introduction of therapy and a well-trained team with all relevant specialists included (surgeon, otolaryngologist, orthodontist, speech therapist) as well as good collaboration with the parents and general practitioners being also an important factor. The author with his co-workers has performed more than 6000 surgeries in about 3500 children with facial cleft in the last 45 years and has treated 60-70 patients annuallly with velopharyngeal insufficiency without cleft. According to his experience and international data he summarizes the etiology, pathomechanism of facial clefts and discusses its symptoms, functional consequences and the surgical and conservative solutions are suggested. The recent Hungarian prevalence is 1:500. Specific prevention does not exist, the 5-6% recurrent cleft risk may be decreased to half by administration of folic acid. The generally accepted timing of the lip plasty is the 3-month age. The palatoplasty may be performed in one or two stages, but closure of the velum should be made before the development of speech by all means. The logopedic treatment (speech therapy) should be started, if the speech disorder is already obvious and the child is able to cooperate with the speech therapist. If conservative therapy is unsuccessful, (velo)pharyngoplasty is proposed at the age of 5. The orthodontic treatment should begin in mixed dentition, major nose correction and oral surgery are allowed only after puberty. Just because of a cleft the infant does not aspirate, the brestfeeding is beneficial and could be performed in most cases. Regular hearing control is recommended because of frequent ear and hearing problems. It is suggested to provide the parents with written instruction about outcome, prognosis and timetable of management, which could be helpful also for the general practitioners.]

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