Give us a call at


or at


to schedule an appointment

Donate to Ochsner

We change and save lives every day.
Your support makes it possible.

Donate Now

Healthy living Tips, delivered right to your inbox

Cleft Lip and Palate: Craniofacial Program

All parents want the best for their baby from the very start. But what do you do if your baby is diagnosed with a cleft lip and palate? By choosing an award-winning hospital with gifted pediatric specialists who embrace the team approach, you’re giving your child every advantage.

What Is a Cleft?

Cleft lips and palates are one of the more common birth defects, affecting about one in 700 babies born in the United States. In most pregnancies, the sides of the fetus’ lip and the roof of the mouth fuse in the first trimester. Sometimes, however, the palate and/or lip doesn’t close the way it should. The result is a child with a facial difference, a cleft.

These days, under the care of the right team, this condition is correctable. In the Gulf South, that team is right here at Ochsner.

Why Ochsner for Cleft Lip or Palate?

From the womb to adulthood, Ochsner is here to treat the whole child – not just the cleft. As a member of the American Cleft Palate Association, we are uniquely qualified to care for your child.

Conditions Treated

What sets Ochsner apart is our team philosophy. We think and work as a team should. Believe it or not, this is rare, and something our patients benefit from every day. What’s more, care at Ochsner is truly personalized.

At Ochsner, the care of a child with a cleft begins before they are born. From the moment a cleft shows up on an ultrasound, we work closely with your OB/GYN and our colleagues in Maternal Fetal Medicine. Unlike specialty pediatric hospitals, we have the ability to deliver high-risk craniofacial patients on-site. If there is a problem at the time of delivery, your baby’s doctor is already here – not across town waiting for the ambulance.

Ochsner Baptist is home to some of the top neonatologists in the region and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). That’s what healthcare with peace of mind is all about.

Schedule an Appointment

Care for babies with cleft lip and palate is performed at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. To schedule an appointment, call 504-842-5338 or 504-84-CLEFT.

Multiple Specialists, One Appointment

It takes a village to take care of a child with a cleft. At Ochsner, that village includes specialists from pediatrics; genetics; neurosurgery; orthodontics; otolaryngology; plastic, craniofacial and reconstructive surgery; speech and language pathology; and psychology and social work. They’re talented, gifted and, most of all, engaged. They’re here to make a difference.

For the convenience of our patients and their families, our team coordinator arranges three-hour visits yearly with families. This allows patients to be seen by numerous specialists at one time and at one location. At this annual visit, called a Cranofacial Clinic, patients receive a full evaluation. Afterwards, our team will send their recommendations to both you and your primary care doctor. Mini Skull Clinics (for patients with skull-related issues) and Mini VPI clinics (for kids with speech and ENT issues) are also available. Out-of-town families often receive assistance with overnight lodging at Brent House Hotel for this visit.

Ochsner adheres strictly to the components identified by the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association as essential to quality care. These guidelines have to do with the composition and management of the care team, the communication between the family and the caregivers (being sensitive to cultural and economic factors) and the need to do follow-up assessments to determine the effectiveness of the intervention.

Your child couldn’t be in better hands.

Related Syndromes

Cleft lip and palate is often linked with other syndromes such as Pierre Robin sequence, 22q11 deletion (DiGeorge and Velocardiofacial syndromes), Craniofacial microsomia, Van der Woude syndrome, Stickler syndrome, Opitz syndrome and Trisomy 13 and 18 – to name a few.

If your child has one of these syndromes, you can do no better than Ochsner. We have the specialists and subspecialists with the experience required to treat your child through adulthood. 

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing at Ochsner can aid in the prognosis, management and recurrent risk of cleft lip and palate.

Find out more 

The Role of the Social Worker

An Ochsner social worker is dedicated to our team full-time. She’s here, not only as an experienced counselor, but as someone who can link you to invaluable social services and financial programs. For more information, call 504-842-4000.

Feeding Your Baby

Making sure a baby with a cleft lip or palate gets the nutrition he or she needs can be a unique challenge. For feeding videos and more information, visit

Cleft Surgery / Conditions Affecting the Face

  • Cleft Lip  – Cleft Lip Repair
  • Cleft Palate – Cleft Palate Repair, Furlow Palatoplasty
  • 22q deletion syndrome – Furlow Palatoplasty
  • Treacher Collins Syndrome – Midface reconstruction
  • Pierre Robin Sequence / tongue based airway obstruction – Mandibular distraction
  • Ear tags and skin tags – Excision
  • Microtia – Ear reconstruction
  • Hemifacial Microsomia  – Distraction osteogenesis
  • Facial Asymmetry – Fat grafting and microsurgery
  • Neonatal ear malformations – In-office ear molding
  • Malocclusion – Orthognathic / Jaw surgery
  • All elements of Pediatric Facial Reconstruction

Abnormal Head Shape / Cranial

  • Positional/Deformational Plagiocephaly – Cranial Orthotics / Helmet Therapy
  • Craniosynostosis – Minimally invasive cranial vault surgery and formal cranial vault reconstruction
  • Frontonasal dysplasia / hypertelorism – surgical correction
  • Apert Syndrome – cranial vault surgery and midface surgery
  • Crouzon Syndrome– cranial vault surgery and midface surgery
  • Noonan Syndrome – cranial vault surgery and midface surgery
  • Pfeiffer Syndrome – cranial vault surgery and midface surgery
  • Carpenter Syndrome – cranial vault surgery and midface surgery