- cleft palate
a congenital defect of the palate in which a longitudinal fissure exists in the roof of the mouth.[1840-50]
* * *Fairly common congenital disorder in which a fissure forms in the roof of the mouth.It may affect only the soft palate or extend through the hard palate, so that the nasal cavity opens into the mouth. The septum (dividing wall) between the nostrils is often absent. Cleft lip, a fissure in the lip beneath the nostril, or other abnormalities may accompany it. Cleft palate limits the ability of an infant to suck, which may lead to malnutrition, and causes speech problems in childhood. Surgical repair, usually at about 18 months of age, forms an airtight separation between nose and mouth. Speech training is still needed, and patients may have a high risk of nose, ear, and sinus infections.
* * *a fairly common congenital deformity in which the palatal plates (in the roof of the mouth) fail to close during the second month of prenatal life. The resulting fissure may occur on the soft palate only, or it may extend forward through the hard palate, in which case the nasal cavity opens into the mouth and the nasal septum and its vomer bone are often absent. Cleft palate may be unilateral or bilateral and may occur alone or in conjunction with cleft lip (a fissure of the lip beneath the nostril) or other abnormalities. In infancy, cleft palate limits the child's ability to suck and may lead to malnutrition; later, speech difficulties develop. Surgery to form an airtight separation between nose and mouth is usually performed at about 18 months of age. Even with expert surgical repair, however, speech training is necessary, and nose, ear, and sinus infections may remain a hazard.
* * *