What to Expect after Cleft Lip Surgery

Author: Kevin Parker
Cleft lip surgery is provided to correct the congenital abnormalitycleft lip or cheiloschisis. Cleft lip and cleft palate (palatoschisis) can both be treated with advanced surgical procedures that provide a more natural appearance. The cleft can be unilateral, when only one side of the lip is affected and bilateral if it affects both sides. Cleft lip surgery is usually provided when the child is 3-6 months of age. Bilateral cleft lip may require a procedure such as nasal alveolar molding or NAM before the full cleft lip repair.

Post-surgery Scenario
Usually, surgeons recommend that your child stays in the hospital overnight and one of the parents or both can stay with the child. You can expect your child to experience some pain for the first few days after the cleft lip surgery. This will be treated with suitable pain medications. There may be swelling around the lips for the first few weeks. The stitches will dissolve on their own, but it is important that your child does not touch the surgery site or rub the stitches as this may cause infection and prolong the healing period. Usually, after surgery soft splints are wrapped around your child\'s arms to prevent him/her from rubbing the lip. They can be easily removed. Ideally, they should be worn for two weeks after the surgery. Most children can go home the day after the surgery.

How to Take Care of Your Child after Cleft Lip Repair
Your plastic surgeon will give you directions regarding cleaning the stitches and keeping the wound clean. You may be given an ointment to apply on the lip after cleaning. If your child is experiencing pain, you can give the pain medications prescribed by your doctor. Sometimes a short course of antibiotics may be prescribed after the cleft lip surgery.

Your plastic surgeon will usually advise you to report for a follow-up visit within five to seven days and for a second visit after two weeks. On any occasion after the surgery if you notice bleeding from the site, any sign of infection such as warmth or redness, pain, vomiting or fever, consult the plastic surgeon at once.
The scar from the surgery may stay visible for a few months and then start to fade. Over the next one to two years it might fade further. In cleft lip surgery, you cannot predict the long term results during the initial months following the procedure. During the follow-up visits, your surgeon may advise you on the option of additional surgery to improve the appearance of the lip further.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com

About the Author
Cleft Lip Surgery - Houston Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery, the office of Dr. Sean Boutros, provides the best treatment options for cleft lip and cleft palate.

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