Diagnosing cleft lip and palate usually occurs at birth. The problem may be obvious at delivery, or revealed by a physical examination of the newborn. Some clefts can be detected prior to birth during a routine ultrasound. However, a minor cleft may not be discovered until after a few years. Medical tests may be conducted to rule out other problems, but most children with cleft lip and palate have no other birth defects.
Hearing problems may persist even following surgery, so the doctor may recommend that hearing tests be done at an early stage and repeated over time. In addition, a child may have continuing problems with speech caused by problems with muscles in the palate. A qualified speech pathologist can perform tests to determine the extent of the problem as well as develop corrective therapies. Nasal surgery may be required as the child grows to correct any associated deformities.