Cleft lip and palate is a condition that is typically treated with a number of surgeries during a child’s early childhood years. In order to prepare themselves to care for their children following these procedures, parents often ask about what to expect following surgery to correct a cleft lip and palate. While each case is unique, here are some general guidelines.
Some considerations following a cleft lip and palate procedure are the same as those that are present after any type of surgery. Infection prevention is very important, and the oral surgeon will give you information about how to keep the surgical site clean to reduce this risk. You will also need to monitor your child closely to make sure that he or she does not attempt to put hands or foreign objects, which may harbor numerous bacteria, into the mouth.
Your child may also experience some discomfort in the first few days after surgery. Your oral surgeon will give you guidance on managing this symptom as well.
After undergoing this procedure, an infant will not be able to suck on a bottle for more than a week. Therefore, feeding techniques must be adjusted. Many parents have success feeding infants using a syringe fitted with a soft rubber tube. Older children who have adjusted to solid food diets will need to have their food processed in a blender for several days after cleft lip and palate surgery.
Of course there is an aesthetic aspect of cleft lip and palate repair, and parents may be concerned about the outcome for the child’s appearance. Some scarring is inevitable after this procedure, but your oral surgeon will do everything possible to minimize the appearance of the scar.
Parents who have questions about any aspect of the cleft lip and palate repair surgery, whether it involves preparing for the procedure or post-operative considerations, should call our office at Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery and speak to one of our knowledgeable and experienced providers. We are happy to give you any information that you need in order for the treatment process to proceed as smoothly as possible.