During development of a fetus, tissues in the lip or palate may not come together properly, resulti...
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During development of a fetus, tissues in the lip or palate may not come together properly, resulting in a cleft. A cleft lip means the upper lip is open on one or both sides. A cleft lip can be surgically repaired. A cut is made on both sides of the cleft from the mouth into the nostril. The dark pink outer part of the cleft is turned down, and the muscle and skin of the lip are pulled together. A cleft palate means the roof of the mouth or palate has an opening in the soft part at the back or forward toward the bony part. Surgical repair of a cleft palate involves making a cut on both sides of the separation in the roof of the mouth. Tissue from each side is then moved to the center and joined. The nostrils may also be repaired during this surgery or at another operation. These surgeries are usually done in infants or toddlers.