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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness

We live in a world where image is important. The worlds of fashion, sports, and entertainment set the level of image that many want to copy. Todays society demands a certain look or image. This is often how someone is judged before the individual is offered a chance to demonstrate who they really are.

July is National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention month. Cleft and craniofacial conditinos affect thousands of infants, children, teeens and adults in the United States each year. Some are born with a cleft lip and palate, others are caused by accidents.

Cleft lip is a condition where the baby is born without their lip not join completely before birth. An opening in the upper lip is left and this opening can be small slit or a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose. The cleft may be on either side, in middle and on both sides of the lip. Children with cleft lip are also often born with a cleft palate. Cleft lip and cleft palate develop during development in pregnancy. A cleft palate is where the roof of the mouth does not join together. This can happen in the front, back or both of the palate or it may be that only part of the palate is open.

Cleft lip and palate are the fourth most common birth defect in the U.S. Problems with cleft often affect cultural individuals such as Asian, Latino, or Native American. More boys than girls suffer from this issue as well. Smoking, diabetics and taking certain medications increase the risk of having a child with cleft.

Craniofacial is a birth defect where the bones in babys skull join together too early. The skull is not fully formed when the bones come together when this happens. It is while the babys brain grows that the skull can become more misshapen. Normally a typical baby's skull bones are filled with flexible material and called sutures. The sutures allow the skull to grow as baby brain grows. It is normally not til around 2 years old that the babies skull bones join together as the sutures become bones. In Craniosynostosis one or more sutures closes too early and slows the growth of the brain and th babys head stops growing in that area. The other areas continue to grow making an abnormal shape, This has the possibility of build up of pressure in skull.

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