Children screened for cleft lip, palate

DIAGNOSIS: A doctor checking a child at the medical camp in Tuticorin on Tuesday.  

Staff Reporter

Tuticorin: Collector R. Palaniyandi inaugurated a medical camp conducted by the district administration, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Madurai, for detection of cleft lip and cleft palate in children, here on Tuesday.

S. Paneervelu, project officer, ICDS, said that a total of 46 children were screened and 13 cases were referred for free surgery to be conducted at Meenakshi Mission Hospital on a later date.

P.P. Lingam, plastic surgeon, Meenakshi Mission Hospital, explained modern medical procedures that were available to rectify cleft lip and palate to the public.

He said that a newborn with cleft lip, which was a separation in the upper lip, could undergo treatment after three months.

Likewise, any newborn with cleft palate should start the treatment after six months.

He said that the cleft lip could create cosmetic problems, if it was not treated properly.

If left untreated, cleft palate could lead to defects in speech and infections in ear.

“Besides, the food swallowed could come out through the nostrils,” Dr Lingam said.

Genetic transmission

He told the audience that children were born with cleft palate and lip either because of genetic transmission or if the mothers got exposed to radiations during the first three months of pregnancy.

The defects were also seen in children born out of marriages among close relatives.

According to him, mothers should refrain from taking medicines without prescriptions from a registered medical practitioner during the time of pregnancy to avoid giving birth to children with cleft lip and palate.

He reminded the parents that even after the cleft palate was operated and rectified, follow-up with the doctors concerned was important to carry out speech therapy.