Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft Lip and Palate is a congenital birth defect that can be repaired by surgery in the first months of life with excellent results in our clinics in Spain.

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Cleft Lip and Palate treatment in Spain

The congenital malformation that affects the maxillary and nasal area and causes the patient to have a separation in the upper lip is known as cleft lip.

This treatment, depending on the severity of the malformation, is carried out in three phases:

  • Cleft lip repair within the first 3 and 6 months of age.
  • Cleft palate repair between 12 and 18 months of age or earlier, if possible.
  • Follow-up surgeries between 2 years of age and late adolescence.

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    Treatment characteristics

    This malformation is detected visually when the patient is a baby. Surgery will most likely be required for those children who have difficulty in breastfeeding, difficulty  in swallowing or chronic ear infections as well as if they have a separation in the upper lip, for example, a cleft that goes through the lip and into the nose.

    The repair of the cleft lip is usually performed under general anaesthesia and typically takes between 90 and 120 minutes.

    The intervention consists of closing the upper lip thus eliminating the separation.

    Cleft palate repair is usually performed under general anaesthesia and normally takes between 2 and 4 hours.

    The surgery consists of closing the upper lip eliminating the separation, the doctor will make an incision in one of the sides of the opening from the lip to the nose, reconstruct the area and then suture and bandage it.

    An incision is made on both sides of the malformation, moving both the hard and soft palate and the muscles of the palate to repair the cleft and to finish, sutures will close the wound, usually resorbable.

    After their time in the recovery room, your child will be taken up to the ward, where they will remain for 1 to 3 days (3 or 6 if it is the second operation), to continue their recovery. You will be given guidelines for their aftercare to facilitate their continued recovery at home.

    If you are able to stay in Spain for the entire recovery process then your child should remain for roughly 1 month to monitor their progress after the first operation. If they have the two operations then the recovery time required will be, between 3 and 12 months. The amount of time you should stay for this period will be outlined by the doctor.

    Relevant information


    • Enables the correct feeding of the patient.
    • Minimises the number of infections.
    • Improves breathing.
    • Improves speech development.
    • Corrects jaw alignment.

    Treatment itinerary

    Before treatment

    • Check that you have prepared all the personal documentation (credit card, cash, passport, Identity Card…), medical (reports, prescriptions, images…) and travel (confirmation of accommodation booking, travel tickets…)​.
    • If you take medication of any kind not related to the surgery, do not forget to take with you the necessary amount for your stay in Spain, as well as the medical prescription that will allow you to travel with it without problems.​

    During treatment

    • Once in Spain, you will have to make an appointment with the specialist. During this visit, the doctor will open your child’s medical record (for which you will be asked to provide all your medical documentation), perform a physical examination and tell you if any further tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis.
    • If it is not necessary and everything is confirmed, your doctor will tell you when you must go to the preoperative study and will confirm the time of admission for the day of your surgery.​
    • The doctor will give you the feeding guidelines your child should follow before surgery.

    After treatment

    • After the operation, there will be wounds on the upper lip and nose that will gradually heal, but you will have to feed the baby with a special syringe or bottle, if we are in the first phase, and with a soft diet if we have also done the operation for the cleft palate.
    • You will need to follow the instructions given by the doctor in full.
    • Remember that recovery time will vary depending on age, physical condition, lifestyle habits, and attitude.
    • Keep in mind that successful recovery also depends on you!


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