Van der Woude Syndrome

A rare genetic disorder characterised by lip pits and a cleft lip and/or palate.

A baby with Van Der Woude Syndrome

Van der Woude syndrome is a genetic disorder which features lower lip pits combined with a cleft lip (with or without cleft palate), or cleft palate alone. While there are many syndromes that involve a cleft, this is the only one which can happen with an isolated cleft lip, an isolated cleft palate, and a cleft lip and palate.

The syndrome can vary greatly in how it affects people, so some may not even be aware of their lip pits, or they may have obvious lip pits and a very severe cleft lip and/or palate.

A person with this syndrome has a 50% chance of passing it on to any children.

It affects 1 in 35,000 to 1 in 100,000 people.


Other features associated with Van der Woude Syndrome include:

  • Hypodontia (where teeth are missing because they haven’t developed)
  • A narrow arched palate
  • Congenital heart disease
  • A heart murmer
  • Cerebral abnormailities
  • Ankyloglossia (tongue tie)
  • Syndactyly of the hands (where fingers are fused together)

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