Luckily there is help at hand: How we can treat clefts.

Cleft lips and palates can be surgically closed. "Depending upon the characteristics of the cleft," explains Prof. Sailer, "the treatment can be completed with one single operation, for example in the case of an isolated cleft of the lip or the palate. But that has to be decided on a case-by-case basis."


Depending upon the characteristics of the cleft the treatment can be completed with one single operation.

In the case of more complex malformations, up to three to five operations may be necessary until completion of facial growth by the age of 15 - 18. "There are a number of preconditions required in order to start treatment", says the globally renowned cleft specialist, "A child with a cleft lip or palate in India should be at least six months old and weigh five kilos in order to be viable for operation. That way we are absolutely certain that the anaesthetic will not be problem for the organism." Until that time the child can use a palatal plate which separates the nasal from the oral cavity and allows the child to drink its mother's milk. In our Cleft-centres we now use special splints designed for "nasoalveolar moulding".


After the operation, most cleft-children require speech therapy in order to boost their speech development. Because without having normal, understandable speech it is hardly possible for a cleft-child to integrate into society.