Testing & Diagnosis for Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate in Children

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Contact the Cleft Lip and Palate Program

The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis. 

How is cleft lip/cleft palate diagnosed?

In most cases, a prenatal ultrasound can detect cleft lip/cleft palate as early as 16 weeks into a pregnancy. The diagnosis is then confirmed at birth with a detailed visual assessment and physical examination.

Rarely, a baby may have a mild instance of cleft palate that only involves her soft palate—the fleshy tissue at the back of her mouth. This type of cleft may not show up on ultrasound, and may not be noticeable until the infant experiences difficulty feeding. At that point, a clinician will perform a comprehensive exam to identify the exact nature of the problem.


We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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