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Houston Cranio Facial

Lip and Palate Birth Defects

Oral and facial malformations (birth defects) can develop during pregnancy, leading to aesthetic and functional concerns of varying degrees. Two of the most common examples of orofacial defects are cleft lip and cleft palate, although others can also occur. Dr. Eric Payne, our extensively trained craniofacial plastic surgeon, offers a wide range of treatment options to correct these types of birth defects, including staged treatment, particularly if they are correlated with another condition. We understand that any form of birth defect can be a highly stressful experience for the parents and the child, and we make every effort to help you better understand your options. The first step is an evaluation to ensure your child receives the best care possible.

Dr. Payne utilizes the most advanced techniques and technology available, and he works with an experienced multispecialty team of medical specialists to achieve an optimal outcome. We are committed to providing exceptional care to our patients, endeavoring to deliver compassionate support at every stage of treatment.

Please follow the links below for additional information about cleft lip and palate. If you would like to know more, or if you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Dr. Payne, please reach out to us today.

Dr. Payne and his staff are absolutely amazing! My daughter was born with a bilateral cleft lip/palate and Dr. Payne was assigned to her as her surgeon. I had been doing alot of research while pregnant on craniofacial surgeons and I only wanted the best. I had not yet picked one since she was born a month premature. After meeting him and looking into everything he has done including mission trips to help children in countries where this type of procedure isn’t provided, I knew we had been assigned just the right doctor for our daughter. He was so kind and gentle with her and you can really tell that he has a passion for what he does. Her first surgery to repair her lip looks absolutely amazing! I can’t say enough about how happy I am with him and his staff.

colleen jones

November 25, 2017


Cleft Lip and Palate Deformity

The fourth most common birth defect, cleft lip with or without a cleft palate is when the orofacial tissues do not fully connect during prenatal development. Fortunately, advanced techniques make it possible to improve the function and aesthetics of children born with these conditions.

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Adult Cleft Lip and Palate

Some children never have an opportunity to correct and repair their cleft lip and palate, and they enter adulthood with these conditions. If your cleft lip and palate cause psychological or physical discomfort and difficulty, our skilled medical team can help you find treatment.

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Pierre Robin Sequence

One of the signs of a Pierre Robin diagnosis includes cleft lip with or without a cleft palate. If your child has this condition, Dr. Payne can provide treatment for the cleft lip and palate as well as many other issues that can stem from this concern.

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Velopharyngeal Insufficiency

Velopharyngeal insufficiency is caused by a cleft in the tissues of the soft palate and pharynx. Closing this opening can help your child breathe, eat, drink, and speak without the problems associated with this condition.

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Velocardiofacial Syndrome

Another name for DiGeorge syndrome, velocardiofacial syndrome can include deformity of the airway and a cleft palate, causing a number of other functional issues. With treatment, children can eat, breathe, and speak with greater comfort and control.

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DiGeorge Syndrome/Chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

DiGeorge syndrome is known by a number of names, including velocardiofacial syndrome, although the most accurate title today would be chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. This condition can present in a variety of ways, depending on the severity and the individual’s unique expression of the disorder. While some signs and symptoms may be apparent from birth, others may develop over several years. Examples of signs include:

  • Bluish skin color due to heart defects limiting oxygen supply in the blood
  • Breathing problems due to airway abnormalities
  • Muscle twitches or spasms around the mouth, hands, arms, or throat due to low calcium levels
  • Certain facial features, such as wide-set eyes, low-set ears, underdeveloped chin, or a narrow groove in the upper lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Difficulty feeding and gastrointestinal problems
  • Frequent infections due to weak immune system from low or missing T-cells
  • Inability to gain weight
  • Delayed growth and development (including delays in certain infant milestones and speech development)
  • Learning and behavioral issues

Each person receives two copies of chromosome 22, one from their mother and one from their father. DiGeorge syndrome occurs when part of one copy of chromosome 22 is missing a segment (known as 22q11.2). This defect rarely results from an inherited disorder, more often happening due to a random event. Genetic factors can play a role, regardless of whether or not the parent shows signs of the condition; however, this event is less common. Not all the genes involved in DiGeorge syndrome are well understood, therefore, there is some uncertainty about the causes of this defect. If you have any questions about your child’s condition, Dr. Payne will provide additional information and sources to help you become as well-informed as possible.