We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Bilateral Cleft Palate?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The roof of the mouth, which is underneath the nasal cavity, is called the palate. A cleft palate is an abnormal narrow opening between the nasal cavity and the palate. Often, there is only one of these openings. If there are two gaps, on both sides of the mouth, it is called a bilateral cleft palate. Sometimes, this occurs along with a cleft lip, which is a gap in the lip that travels up to the nose.

A bilateral cleft palate is a type of birth defect. It is typically diagnosed immediately at birth, because it is usually quite visible. The condition may also be detected with an ultrasound while the child is still in the womb.

Aside from the physical appearance of a cleft palate, there are a number of complications that may arise from this condition. Children with this birth defect often have trouble feeding correctly. It may be difficult for them to fasten their mouths on a nipple, and breast milk or formula may also leak into the nasal cavity. These children are also more susceptible to ear infections, dental problems, hearing loss, and speech impediments.

While the exact cause of a bilateral cleft palate is unknown, it is likely influenced by genetic factors. A family history of this defect increases the risk of a baby being born with it. It is also possible that the condition is more likely to develop when the mother smokes, drinks alcohol, or takes recreational drugs while pregnant. Viruses and some medications can also increase the risk.

Treatment for a bilateral cleft palate typically begins soon after the child is born. This condition can generally be corrected with a series of surgeries. Children who have a cleft lip in addition to the palate defect will likely have surgery to repair the lip first, when they are approximately 10 to 12 weeks old. Surgery on the palate generally takes place when the child is between six and 18 months old.

These surgeries are performed while the child is unconscious, under general anesthesia. To repair the bilateral cleft palate, the surgeon will manipulate the tissues and muscles on either side of the clefts to draw the opening closed. Patients will usually need to stay in the hospital, typically for two to three days.

Depending on the success of the initial surgery, the child may undergo additional procedures for further improvement. These operations may focus on the alignment of the jaw, improvement of breathing and speech, as well as cosmetic enhancements. As the child grows, his facial bones will also change. He may need to wait for a final surgery until the facial structure is fully developed.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.