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Cleft lip and palate

  • Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Center HUSUKE
  • cleft palates
  • New Children’s Hospital

Cleft lip and cleft palate are the most common type of birth defect. We treat cleft lip and cleft palate at Töölö Hospital and at the New Children’s Hospital and have nationwide responsibility for these treatments.

Some 120 newborn babies are diagnosed with cleft lip and/or cleft palate in Finland each year. About 100 of these are treated at HUS. Outpatient care is given at Töölö Hospital, and surgery and inpatient care at the New Children’s Hospital.

The groundwork in treating cleft lip/palate is laid by the corrective surgery that we undertake during the first year of the child’s life. By the child’s first birthday, his/her appearance will have been corrected as far as possible while attaining normal function of the lip, nose and palate.

We advise and assist families, children and adolescents with problems related to cleft lip/palate. Treatment and monitoring continue until the child’s growth ends, and beyond that if necessary.

If the infant only has a cleft lip or a cleft palate, probably no other corrective surgery will be indicated. In cases of a cleft lip and alveolus or a cleft lip and palate, on the other hand, further surgery will be needed later. In addition to surgical treatment, the child may require ear treatment, speech therapy, orthodontic treatment and dental prosthetics.

Cases of cleft lip/palate may be divided into two major groups:

  • cleft lip possibly with cleft palate 
  • cleft palate only

The type and extent of the cleft have an impact on the development of facial bones, soft tissues and teeth, and also on speech development. Therefore, the type of cleft governs the choice of treatment method.

Cleft syndromes

A cleft lip/palate may present on its own but sometimes forms part of a more extensive syndrome.


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