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cleft palate,incomplete fusion of bones of the palate. The cleft may be confined to the soft palate at the back of the mouth; it may include the hard palate, or roof of the mouth; or it may extend through the gum and lip, producing a gap in the teeth and a cleft lip, which is cosmetically difficult to repair but is not disabling. The condition appears to be hereditary but not under the control of a single pair of genes. A cleft palate causes separation between the oral and nasal cavities. An infant cannot develop proper suction for drinking, and there is the danger of milk entering the nasal cavity and being aspirated into the lungs. Formula must be carefully placed at the back of the tongue for normal swallowing to take place. Ear infection may result from food or fluid passing from the nasal cavity to the middle ear by way of the Eustachian tubes. Proper speech articulation is difficult unless the cleft is surgically closed, with a prosthesis. The proper time for such an operation is in dispute; some authorities prefer early closure, before the cleft interferes with development of normal speech habits, while others prefer to wait for several years until facial growth has been completed. Dental, orthodontic, psychiatric, and speech therapy may be required.
a congenital malformation, in which there is an opening in the upper jaw and the hard palate. As a result there is a cleft which joins the mouth cavity and the nose. A cleft palate causes difficulty in eating (the food falls into the windpipe and the nasal cavity), breathing, and speaking (the speech impediments include nasality and distorted pronunciation of the sounds k, p, and t). It is often followed by a split in the upper lip. Treatment includes surgical operation and prosthesis and dispensary observation (changing healing de-vices) up to the age of 16.
a congenital developmental defect in man in which acts of feeding, breathing, and speech are disturbed as a result of the formation of a fissure between the right and left halves of the hard palate. It constitutes up to 30 percent of all developmental defects; it is often found together with harelip.
The origin of cleft palate is linked to disturbance in the development of the embryo in the period of six to 12 weeks when the palate is formed. Unfavorable external conditions, physical or mental trauma to the mother, deficient nutrition, illnesses suffered during pregnancy, and toxoplasmosis influence the development of cleft palate. The influence of heredity has not been proved. A reliable method of removing cleft palate and the functional disorders associated with it is radical plastic surgery combined with orthopedic and logopedic preoperative and postoperative treatment. Preventive measures include a sensible schedule in work and daily life during pregnancy, good nutrition, and prevention of infectious diseases.
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A. A. KUZNETSOVA