Cleft lip and cleft palate pathophysiology A cleft lip contains an opening in the upper lip that may extend into the nose which may be on one side, both sides, or in the middle. A cleft palate is the condition in which the roof of the mouth contains an opening into the nose. Problem related to these disorders are feeding problems, speech problems, hearing problems, and frequent ear infections. If the cleft does not affect the palate structure of the mouth it is referred to as cleft lip. It is due to the failure of fusion of the maxillary and medial nasal processes. Cleft palate is a condition in which the two plates of the skull that form the hard palate are not completely joined. Development of the upper lip is characterized by fusion of the maxillary prominences with the lateral and medial nasal prominences. This process starts during the fourth week of gestation and is completed by the seventh week. Failure of mesenchymal migration to unite one or both of the maxillary prominences with the medial nasal prominences results in a unilateral or bilateral cleft of the lip, respectively. Classification includes: Cleft lip or palate, Isolated unilateral cleft lip, Isolated cleft palate, Midline clefts of the nose or lip.
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