are most frequent birth defect in the United States, says CDC
Children's Hospital of Atlanta
lip and palate now comprise the most common birth defects in the
United States, according to a report issued on January 8 by the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Although
the statistics may be frightening, there are literally thousands
of professionals throughout our country who have the knowledge and
expertise to care for patients with these disorders of the head
Center for Craniofacial Disorders at Childrens Healthcare
of Atlanta is one of the leading centers in the country for treating
cleft lip and palate, said John Riski, Ph.D., Director of
Speech Pathology at the Center for Craniofacial Disorders at Childrens
Healthcare of Atlanta. We combine cutting edge technology
with a remarkable staff to ensure that our cleft patients have the
best possible resources available to them.
cleft lip is a separation of the two sides of the lip. The separation
often includes the bones of the upper jaw and/or upper gum. A cleft
palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth in which the two sides
of the palate did not fuse, or join together, as the unborn baby
was developing. These birth defects occur very early in pregnancy.
The majority of clefts appear to be due to a combination of genetics
and environmental influences and the risks of recurrence in a family
are dependent upon many factors.
child born with a cleft may be faced with multiple and complex problems
including, but not limited to, early feeding and nutritional problems
that can lead to difficulties in growth and development; middle
ear infections; hearing loss; deviations in speech and resonance;
dento-facial and orthodontic abnormalities; and possible psychosocial
adjustment problems, said Riski.
the child frequently requires several different types of services,
e.g., surgery, dental/orthodontic care, and speech therapy, all
of which need to be provided in a synchronized manner over a period
of years. This coordinated care is provided by interdisciplinary
cleft palate/craniofacial teams like our team at Childrens,
which is comprised of professionals from a variety of health care
disciplines. When our specialists work together, treatment goals
can be customized for each child, and parents and health care providers
can make the best choices for treatment by consulting with each
other, Riski continued. In fact, multidisciplinary team
care is recommended for children with clefts in the Editorial
Note section of the CDC report.
more information, please visit the Childrens Healthcare of
Atlanta Web site at www.choa.org or the ACPA website at www.acpa-cpf.org.
A related organization, The Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF), focuses
on research as well as information and services to individuals affected
by facial birth defects. CPFs website is www.cleftline.org.
Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the leading pediatric healthcare systems
in the country, is a not-for-profit organization that benefits from
the generous philanthropic and volunteer support of our community.
With 430 licensed beds in two hospitals and more than 450,000 annual
patient visits, Childrens is nationally recognized for excellence
in cancer, cardiac, neonatal, orthopaedic and transplant care, as
well as in many other pediatric specialties. Child magazine ranks
Childrens as one of the top 10 childrens hospitals nationwide
and Childrens is among U.S.News & World Reports
top pediatric hospitals. To learn more about Childrens Healthcare
of Atlanta, visit www.choa.org
or call 404-250-KIDS.