Cleft lip repair is surgery to fix a split (cleft) in the lip. The doctor will make a cut along the edges of the cleft lip. This cut is called an incision. It will go up into the nose. The doctor will use stitches to bring the cut edges together to shape the upper lip and nostrils.
Most children stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days after surgery. It usually takes about 3 to 4 weeks for the incision to heal. The incision will leave a scar. It will fade and become softer and flatter in the months and years after surgery.
After surgery, it will probably be easier for your child to eat, breathe, and speak. Some children need more surgery on their lips, noses, or mouths as they get older to improve their speech or the appearance of their scar.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Surgery can be stressful both for your child and for you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.
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Current as of: July 26, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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