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Cleft lip

Faces of babies, showing three kinds of cleft lip: incomplete, complete, and complete on both sides

Cleft lip is a birth defect that occurs when the tissues of the upper jaw and nose do not join as expected during fetal development, resulting in a split (cleft) in the lip. An incomplete cleft lip can range from a slight indentation to a notch in the upper lip on one or both sides. A complete cleft lip is a deep split in the lip that extends into one or both sides of the nose. Cleft lip can be corrected with one or more surgeries.

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine