Many adults with a cleft will not be under the care of an NHS Cleft Team. You may have already been discharged when you were , or maybe your treatment took place before the Cleft Teams existed. Whatever the reason, you are entitled to treatment for issues caused by your cleft no matter your age. A cleft palate is an opening or split in the roof of the mouth that occurs when the tissue doesn't fuse together during development in the womb. A cleft palate often includes a split (cleft) in the upper lip (cleft lip) but can occur without affecting the lip.
Cleft lip and palate are the most common congenital anomalies of the face and skull, affecting approximately one in newborns in the U.S. Infants with cleft lip have variable degrees of change in the appearance of the lip and nose depending on whether or not the gums and palate are involved. Treatments currently available to infants and children with cleft lip and palate are also available to adults with clefts. Although every attempt is made to complete cleft care by the late teens, some ongoing treatment still may be required or some unmet patient need may become apparent in later years.
Adults born with a cleft lip and/or palate may require ongoing treatment despite having undergone surgery as children, teenagers and young adults. The healthcare of adults born with a cleft can sometimes be neglected because they are no longer monitored within the U.K. cleft service (Cleft treatment pathway) after the age of For some adults with cleft palate grow older or gain weight, they may develop a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Patients who have had a pharyngeal flap or sphincter pharyngoplasty are more likely to have sleep issues.