A cleft of the lip and/or palate is a congenital malformation that occurs in utero during the first trimester of pregnancy. Because a cleft is due to a disruption in embryological development, clefts typically follow the normal fusion lines. The interference in embryological development of the mid face and oral cavity is often associated with malformations of the nose, eyes, and other facial structures as well. When other congenital anomalies occur along with the cleft lip and palate, they usually have a genetic etiology and are part of a multiple malformation syndrome.
A cleft lip presents with more serious cosmetic concerns than cleft palate, but a cleft palate presents with more serious functional problems, particularly problems with speech. Individuals born with both cleft lip and cleft palate are at risk for problems with aesthetics, feeding, speech, resonance, and hearing. Although there are many commonalities in the appearance of the basic clefting conditions, clefts also give rise to unique anatomical and functional deviations. These deviations are due to variations in etiology, but are also due to various forms of treatment ti which the patient has been subjected. Therefore, the severity in aesthetics and function ranges from barely noticeable to severely affected and malformed.
Information cited : Kummer, A. 2008, Cleft Palate and Craniofacial anomolies:Effects on speech and resonance, Delmar: Clifton Park, New York.