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Cleft lip and palate in northern Nigerian children

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Abstract:

Background: Cleft lip and palate are congenital abnormalities often seen and managed early in life in the developed world. The current approach to management is a multidisciplinary one. In this part of the world however, patients present at a later age and are managed by a single specialist. Methods: A retrospective review of children with cleft lip and palate seen and managed over a 10- year period was done using data obtained from patients' case folders. Results: Five hundred children were treated over the ten-year period. 56.8% of patients treated presented with cleft lip alone while 43.2% had both cleft lip and palate. More males than females presented with cleft lip alone while more females had both cleft lip and palate. 59.3% of the patients were less than one year of age. There was a positive family history of cleft lip and palate in 5.5% of patients. Malnutrition, anaemia, convulsion, ear infection, diarrhoea, malaria fever, upper respiratory tract infection and skin rashes were often seen in these patients at first visit. All patients were managed by maxillofacial surgeons and anaesthetists. There was no involvement of the orthopaedic and plastic surgeon, orthodontist or speech therapist in patients' management. Conclusion: Though management of cleft lip and palate was successful within our limits, there is need to increase public awareness of the treatment possibilities available and to adopt a team approach to management in order to improve treatment outcome.

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