Pediatric Cleft Lip and Palate Workup

Updated: Nov 30, 2015
  • Author: Marie M Tolarova, MD, PhD, DSc; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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Imaging Studies

Cleft lip (CL) can be easily diagnosed by performing ultrasonography in the second trimester of pregnancy when the position of the fetal face is located correctly (see the images below). [42]

Bilateral cleft lip on ultrasound. Bilateral cleft lip on ultrasound.
Median cleft lip on ultrasound. Median cleft lip on ultrasound.

Usually, diagnosing a cleft palate (CP) with ultrasonography is not possible; however, an experienced physician or technician may catch an atypical movement of the fetal tongue in a lateral view. In the case of a large CP, the tongue moves up into an open space (cleft) in the roof of the oral cavity. Three-dimensional imaging has been introduced to prenatal ultrasonography diagnostics of cleft anomalies and appears to be promising for recognizing a CP in a fetus.