Cleft Lip and Palate Program

The Cleft Lip and Palate Program at Boston Children’s Hospital is one of the largest and most experienced treatment centers in the country, caring for nearly 600 infants, children and adolescents every year.

Our approach to cleft lip and palate

Because a cleft can involve the lip, nose and palate (the roof of the mouth), a child’s hearing, feeding, speech and dental functions may all be affected. A dedicated and knowledgeable team of specialists from several disciplines is necessary to give you and your child the long-term support you need.

Our comprehensive team of specialists includes:

  • plastic surgeons
  • oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • dentists
  • orthodontists
  • nurses
  • psychologists and social workers
  • otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors)
  • speech-language pathologists
  • audiologists (hearing specialist)
  • clinical geneticists

Why Choose the Cleft Lip and Palate Program?

Nationally recognized care

U.S.News & World Report ranks Boston Children's Hospital higher in more specialties than any other children's hospital in the country. Our team leverages the broad expertise throughout Boston Children’s to ensure extraordinary management of every aspect of your child’s wellbeing. We are proud to care for patients both from our local Boston area and from all over the world.

Boston Children's Hospital cleft lip and palate patient poputation

Surgical excellence

Our world-class surgical care includes the unsurpassed safety and quality made possible by the most sophisticated tools and technologies available. Boston Children’s Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery is one of the largest and most active pediatric plastic surgery centers in the country.

Annual surgical procedures (2017)

Boston children's hospital cleft lip and palate patient procedures

  • 476 patients seen
  • 912 clinical encounters
  •  77 cleft lip repair
  • 69 cleft palate repair
  • 87 bone graft
  • 79 other procedures
  • 312 total cleft operations

Our Results

In 2016, our center began prospectively tracking our cleft outcomes to ensure we provide our patients the best care possible and take pride in our high patient satisfaction scores and low complication rates.

Complication
Our Rate
Other Centers*
Palate fistula
3.6%
1-30%
Readmission within 30 days
2.1%
2-4%

* based on results reported in the scientific literature

Patient satisfaction

  • When asked if our doctors answered all questions, out patients gave 4.8 our of 5.0 stars.
  • When asked about their overall experience, they provided a satisfaction score of 4.7 out of 5.0.

Collaborative care

Our team approach combines expertise across multiple specialties and programs, enabling us to provide a range of services to you and your child, including:

  • surgical cleft lip and/or palate repair
  • dental and orthodontic treatment
  • supportive nursing care by cleft lip/palate experts
  • feeding guidance and nutritional support
  • evaluation and management of hearing loss
  • speech therapy
  • psychosocial support and counseling

Research

Our department also co-directs a highly advanced, 2,500-square-foot research laboratory where our doctors are studying the causes of cleft lip/cleft palate and researching new therapies. Learn more about our craniofacial anomalies research.