Some children are born with clefts in the lip, jaw, and palate. This usually shortens the LKG gap. LKG columns mean that parts of the child’s face have not grown together as they usually do. LKG column can be operated with good results.

Different types of LKG column

In some children it is just like a small notch in the lip, in others, the lip gap goes all the way from the lip up to the nose. Sometimes the jaw is also split, in whole or in part.

The child may have split in any of these ways:

  • The lip, called lip splint.
  • The lip and the jaw called the lip-jaw split
  • The palate called the palate.
  • A combination of lip gap, jaw gap or palate gap, LKG gap.

Lip gap and lip jaw gap can be single or double-sided, that is, only on one side of the nose or on both sides.

What is the reason for the LKG gap?

About two in a thousand children are born with some type of LKG cleft. this means that about 200 children are born with a cleft each year.

What causes LKG cleft is not clear, but if it exists in the genus it may have some significance. Smoking during pregnancy can be a risk as well as folic acid deficiency and the use of alcohol and certain drugs.

How is the LKG column detected and what help is there?

Often a gap is detected in the lip with ultrasound and then you get information immediately.

It is more difficult to detect a gap in the palate with ultrasound because it is more difficult to see it. Gut splits are often detected on BB in conjunction with routine checks, but also if, for example, there are many problems with breastfeeding.

At BB, you who give birth to the child and the child immediately get in touch with a specialized LKG team. It consists of contact nurses, plastic surgeons, specialist dentists, dentists, speech therapists, and often a psychologist or curator. Sometimes more specialists are needed that are part of the care of the child.

Feeding a newborn child with LKG splitting

Depending on what cleft your child has, they may have difficulty sucking on your chest. However, cleft palate almost always affects the newborn baby’s ability to breastfeed.

Children with a lip and jaw split can almost always be breastfed. Sometimes children with a small, posterior palate can also breastfeed. If you give breast milk in a bottle or substitute for breast milk, you can feed the baby with a specially adapted pacifier, which you get at BB.

You get help at BB to get the baby started sucking and swallowing.

Treatment of LKG gap

Already at BB, parents, and children come into contact with an LKG team. The team keeps in touch throughout the treatment, which can last until the child is grown.

The team decides on the treatment together with the guardian. As the child gets older, they also become more involved in what needs to be done and when it should be done.

As a rule, there are three surgeries that most children with LKG split do. They are made to change the appearance, improve hearing, and the ability to eat and talk.

What the gap looks like determines when and which operations are performed.

Lip and palate are fully operated during the child’s first two years of life. The jaw gap is operated at 8-12 years. Often the children also get tubes in the eardrum in connection with the gum operation.

Most children do these operations alone. Some children may need more surgery as they age, for example, to adjust the lip scar or nose.

During the surgeries, the child’s custodian or close relatives usually spend the night in the hospital.

Other treatment of LKG gap

In addition to having the child need surgery, they may also need treatment in order for the speech, teeth, and bite to develop properly.

Some children need speech therapy for speech therapists. Sometimes the speech needs to be improved with surgery and treatment by a speech therapist.

Many children born with LKG cleft need dental supervision by a specialist dentist in the team. In some cases, surgery may be required in the upper teens to improve the bite.

The care is adapted to your child

The child’s needs determine what treatment it will receive. Although the treatment is individual, the LKG team should keep in touch with the parents and coordinate the controls and treatments to which all children born with LKG split should be called.

Exactly how the treatments and when the treatments are done can look a little different at different hospitals in the country. With regular follow-ups, the LKG team also takes into account the child’s development and special needs.

You should understand the information

In order for you to be able to participate in your child’s care and treatment, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the care staff. Even children who are a little older should understand.

There is no age limit for when a child can have an influence over their care. The child’s ability to participate in related to the child’s maturity. The older the child, the more important it is for them to be involved in their care. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

If your child needs help, get information about what is available and how to get it.

Living with LKG column

Most studies on quality of life show that children and adolescents born with LKG cleft are at least as satisfied as other children with their lives. This also applies to the question of how satisfied they are with their appearance, speech, and communication ability.

It is important that parents, guardians, preschool, and school staff and other adults monitor how the child develops so that the child gets help when they need it.

A child with LKG cleft should be treated like all other children and feel the community with their immediate surroundings. It is important to let the child’s own experience of his or her situation emerge.

Since the scar on the lip is often visible a little, the child may need to be prepared for how they can answer other people’s curious questions. This is especially true before school starts and in other new contexts.

The child needs confirmation of the child it is. They need to get answers to their questions about their appearance, speech, and what it can be about to know what happened. It may be helpful to view images from before and after an operation.

The LKG team monitors all children with regular checks to provide assistance if they need extra support or treatment.

Being close to someone born with LKG cleft

Having a child is often overwhelming experience of happiness and hope for the child. Having a child with LKG cleft can cause concern about how the cleft will affect the child.

Questions about the child’s development and health can come at different times and times. It is common to have thoughts on how it will be for the child when they start school and later in life.

It is important to get answers to questions and get professional help if you are worried about the future or have other concerns.

Sometimes one or several calls are enough, sometimes longer treatment is needed. You can get support and advice both through the LKG team psychologist or curator. You can also get support through patient organizations and social media.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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