Submucous Cleft Palate

In the submucous cleft, the separation of the palate is not complete. The characteristic in the appearance of the submucous cleft is the bifid (double) uvula. The cleft is referred mainly to the muscle layer of the palate, which is separated, and a notch at the back of the hard palate.

FUNCTIONAL PROBLEMS

The functional problems in the submucous cleft are the same that are observed in the complete types of cleft palate.

  • Nasal speech (rinolalia)
  • Frequent episodes of otitis

It should be noted that these problems are usually mild or may not exist at all, so it is possible not to be diagnosed.

HOW IS THE DIAGNOSIS MADE?

The diagnosis is made solely with a clinical examination, in which the bifid uvula is observed. By gentle palpation of the palate it is detected a notch (deficit) at the back of in the hard palate.

The doctor starts to suspect the existence of submucous cleft when the child has unexplained rinolalia or frequent episodes of otitis.

Submucous cleft. Bifid (double) uvula is observed.Submucous cleft. Bifid (double) uvula is observed.

WHEN IS THE APPROPRIATE TIME FOR A SURGICAL REPAIR IN THE CASE OF THE SUBMUCOUS CLEFT?

The surgical repair in submucous cleft should be performed only in the case that it is detected rinolalia or frequent episodes of otitis.

Though, it should be noted that the results after the surgical repair for improving the speech or reducing the frequency of otitis media episodes are not always completely satisfactory. They may be less satisfactory than the cases of complete cleft palate.