Cleft Alveolus is a birth defect that occurs when the bone in the front of the top palate (around the teeth) is defected. Although sometimes it can occur due to genetics, some medical studies have linked cleft alveolus to Zofran, a popular anti-nausea medication that’s being prescribed to pregnant women.
More About Cleft Alveolus
When the bone in the upper palate is defected, the infant’s mouth will either develop something as a small notch in the area, or something more severe as a full gap that extends from the floor of the nose and the upper teeth. Babies with cleft alveolus may experience numerous health problems, including fluid leaking from the nose, difficulties swallowing and drinking a bottle, and hearing problems. Additionally, teeth will fail to grow properly until cleft alveolus is treated.
How is Cleft Alveolus Diagnosed?
Cleft Alveolus is diagnosed when a physician performs a routine sonogram while the mother is still pregnant. Cleft alveolus can be detected as early as 18 weeks of pregnancy. Once the baby is born, the doctor can physically diagnose by doing an inspection of their gum tissue behind the teeth.
Treatment for Cleft Alveolus
If cleft alveolus is severe, a bone graft is generally needed in order to repair the defect. A bone graft entails taking a small piece of a bone in the baby’s body, typically in the hip bone, and grafting into the opening in the mouth. A small incision is made into the hip area and after a small amount of the bone is taken, the incision is carefully stitched back together.
The bone portion taken from the hip is then place in the open area of the mouth via surgery. The surgery closes the hole in the nose floor. After the surgical procedure, the child can usually go home the same day, but may need to stay overnight if there are eating problems or any issues with the hip bone incision. Meanwhile, it’s important to make sure your child keeps their mouth as clean as possible within the next two weeks after surgery.
A clean mouth is especially important because once a portion of the hip bone is placed into the cleft area of the child’s mouth, the hip bone portion is a dead bone, and will need weeks for the blood supply to get blood supply and cells. This can be achieved by keeping the child’s mouth clean, which helps fight off any infections.
Zofran and Cleft Alveolus
Cleft alveolus is one of the many birth defects associated with pregnant women taking Zofran, an anti-nausea medication being marketed as off-label use for morning sickness. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the makers of the medication, have yet to thoroughly test it to see the risks it will have on humans. So far, the only tests the drug company conducted was preliminary research on Zofran and animals.
However, numerous other medical studies by other organizations researched the effects of Zofran on unborn babies and determined that along with cleft alveolus, Zofran also heightens the risk of infants developing heart defects, cleft lip, clubfoot, hearing problems, vision problems, and much more.
Keep in mind that if your baby was born with a birth defect and you took Zofran while pregnant, you may be entitled to substantial compensation to help pay for pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and more.