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A child with a cleft lip has a visible separation in the skin of their upper lip. This space can be a small gap, or it can be a significant opening that extends from the base of the baby’s nose all the way down to their top jaw and gums. It can occur alone or in combination with a cleft palate, which is the incomplete development of the roof of the mouth. At Boston Children’s Hospital, we see children with cleft lip and palate in the Cleft Lip and Palate Program. As one of the largest and most experienced treatment centers in the country, we care 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

This multidisciplinary team of specialists continually strives to provide the highest level of care possible. 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.

Meet our patients

Our team of specialists is exceptional, but so too are the inspiring children we treat.

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boy with cleft lip repair sits in car seat and smiles