Patients who have cleft lip or palate face significant lifelong communicative and aesthetic challenges and difficulties with deglutition. Management of patients who have orofacial clefting requires an understanding of the anatomy and pathophysiology associated with clefting and the developmental difficulties encountered by these patients. This article describes current surgical concepts and principles of cleft care. Advances in the embryology and genetics of orofacial clefting are also discussed. It is expected that the care of patients who have clefts will continue to evolve because of advances in the fields of tissue engineering, genetics, and fetal surgery.