The Cleft Lip & Palate Support Group

Area: Cape Town, Western Cape
Region: Western Cape
Physical Address: Speech Therapy Department, Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory, Cape Town
Phone: +27 (0)21 404 6459
Contact Person: Mrs Ros Lentons

A cleft palate is a defect of the palate in which a longitudinal opening exists in the roof of the mouth. A cleft lip is a lip with a gap in it (also known as harelip). The cleft is a result of incomplete development of the lip or palate during embryogenesis. The lip and palate develop independently so it is possible to have a cleft of the lip or a cleft of the palate separately, or they may occur together.

Cleft lip and palate is a common birth defect in South Africa. The incidence is about 1.4 per 1000 births in the white population and about 0.4 per 1000 births in the black population. White males are generally more often affected than white females, with a sex ratio of about 2 to 1. Clefting conditions may be caused by either genetic factors, environmental factors or a combination of both (multifactorial mode of inheritance).

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