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Microform Cleft Lip


Updated October 30, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Microform Cleft Lip

Microform cleft lip is the mildest form of cleft lip. It may appears as a barely imperceptable notch or as a scar of the philtral column.

Photo © Millicent Odunze, M.D., M.P.H.

A microform cleft lip ( also known as a "forme fruste") is the mildest version of a cleft lip, and is categorized as an incomplete cleft.

A microforme cleft lip does not have the obvious cleft appearance of the other clefts. It may simply appear as a vertical scar from the lip to the nose. There may be a notch in the vermillion border and the nose may be affected. While a microform cleft may not be obvious, there may still be a problem with functionality. There is some disruption of the continuity of the orbicularis oris muscle. This may cause eating and drinking issues as well as speech issues.

The nose is usually normal with a microform cleft deformity.

The actor, Joaquin Phoenix, has a microform cleft lip. It appears as if he has a surgical scar from repair of a cleft lip. In actuality, that is his natural appearance.

Next page: Unilateral Complete Cleft Lip

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