DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cleft palate. Close-up of a repaired cleft palate in an 18-year-old man. Cleft palate is a birth defect in which there is a split in the midline of the palate (roof of the mouth). This is due to failure of the two sides to fuse in embryonic development. It is usually surgically repaired a few months after birth. In this young adult, the repair to the cleft lip has left scar tissue (white, centre and upper centre). Many people with cleft palate are partially deaf or have other birth defects. Some but not all cases of cleft palate occur together with a similar split in the upper lip, known as cleft or hare lip.
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