Cleft lip repair is surgery to fix a split (cleft) in the lip. The
doctor made a cut (incision) along the edges of the cleft lip extending up into
the nose. He or she used stitches to bring the cut edges together to shape the
upper lip and nostrils.
Your child may need pain medicine for the
first few days after surgery. The area around your child's mouth will be
swollen for the first week or two after surgery. He or she may be more fussy
Most children are back to their usual behaviour about
a week after surgery. It usually takes about 3 to 4 weeks for the incision to
heal. The incision will leave a pink or red scar. You can expect the scar to
feel hard and tight at first. The scar should fade and become softer and
flatter in the months and years after surgery.
Your child may need
to wear a wire guard across his or her upper lip. This helps prevent the lip
from stretching and protects the stitches from breaking or the skin edges from
separating. Your child also may need to wear splints on his or her arms. The
splints keep your child's arms straight so that he or she cannot rub the
incision while it heals. Your child may need to wear the lip guard and arm
splints for 10 to 14 days. If your child has a lip guard or arm splints, it is
important that he or she wear them for as long as your doctor recommends.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will
take for your child to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace.
Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as
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 or nurse call line 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.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example,
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek
immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be
sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.
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Current as of:
July 26, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.