Thank you for signing up! Facts about cleft lip and cleft palate:
What is a cleft lip and cleft palate?
A cleft lip/palate is a birth defect that occurs when the lip and mouth do not form properly during, approximately the 9th week of pregnancy. This causes the palate (roof of the mouth) or the lips to improperly join together leaving a hole or cleft.
What is the cause cleft lip and cleft palate?
The cause of cleft lip or cleft palate is unknown. There is some evidence that there is a genetic link that predisposes infants to cleft lip/palate. Although other evidence points to a multitude of other factors that can be a cause. For example environmental factors that an infant may be exposed to during pregnancy, improper diet, smoking, and certain medications can also increase the risk for cleft lip/palate.
What issues does cleft lip/palate cause?
Children born with cleft lip/palate have an immediate disadvantage when it comes to feeding and getting proper nutrition. This results in not being able to suck as an infant, and/or properly hold food in the mouth which leads to malnutrition, and many other health problems related to poor nutrition. The birth defect can also contribute to difficulties with speaking properly. As you can imagine, this leads to self-esteem issues, and sadly, most children are kept out of school because of the shame related to the defect. Additionally, the hole in the roof of the mouth creates a continuous passage from the mouth into the nasal cavity. This often causes constant upper respiratory tract and sinus infections throughout life.
How frequently do cleft lips/palates occur in the Philippines?
Recent studies put the incidence of cleft lip and cleft palate at one in every 500 births in the Philippines. This is a higher incidence than the United States and other developed countries.
How much does one surgery cost for cleft lip or cleft palate in the U.S.?
A surgery to repair a cleft lip is about $10,000. A surgery to repair a cleft palate is about $15,000.
How much does one surgery cost for cleft lip or cleft palate in the Philippines through Mending Faces?
A surgery to repair a cleft lip or cleft palate is roughly $250. This is due to the fact that our volunteers donate their time as well as cover their travel and lodging expenses to participate in the medical mission. Plus the host hospital in the Philippines offers their operating room to use and several local nurses at no expense.