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Cleft tongue syndrome

Overview

Cleft tongue: A tongue with a groove or split running lengthwise along the tip of the tongue. Also called bifid tongue.

Symptoms - Cleft tongue syndrome

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Causes - Cleft tongue syndrome

In most cases, the cause of cleft lip and cleft palate is unknown. These conditions cannot be prevented. Most scientists believe clefts are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There appears to be a greater chance of clefting in a newborn if a sibling, parent, or relative has had the problem.

Prevention - Cleft tongue syndrome

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Diagnosis - Cleft tongue syndrome

Because clefting causes very obvious physical changes, it\'s easy to diagnose. Prenatal ultrasound can sometimes determine if a cleft exists in an unborn child. If the clefting has not been detected in an ultrasound prior to the baby\'s birth, a physical examination of the mouth, nose and palate confirms the presence of cleft lip or cleft palate after a child\'s birth. Sometimes diagnostic testing may be conducted to determine or rule out the presence of other abnormalities

Prognosis - Cleft tongue syndrome

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Treatment - Cleft tongue syndrome

A cleft lip may require one or two surgeries depending on the extent of the repair needed. The initial surgery is usually performed by the time a baby is 3 months old. Repair of a cleft palate often requires multiple surgeries over the course of 18 years. The first surgery to repair the palate usually occurs when the baby is between 6 and 12 months old. The initial surgery creates a functional palate, reduces the chances that fluid will develop in the middle ears, and aids in the proper development of the teeth and facial bones. Children with a cleft palate may also need a bone graft when they are about 8 years old to fill in the upper gum line so that it can support permanent teeth and stabilize the upper jaw. About 20% of children with a cleft palate require further surgeries to help improve their speech. Once the permanent teeth grow in, braces are often needed to straighten the teeth. Additional surgeries may be performed to improve the appearance of the lip and nose, close openings between the mouth and nose, help breathing, and stabilize and realign the jaw. Final repairs of the scars left by the initial surgery will probably not be performed until adolescence, when the facial structure is more fully developed.

Resources - Cleft tongue syndrome

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