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What To Expect During a Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Procedure


Posted on 5/15/2024 by Office
A man in dental chair ready for oral surgeryCleft lip and cleft palate are prenatal malformations that affect the upper lip and the roof of the mouth of the baby during early pregnancy. A cleft lip is a minor split that cuts across the upper lip and can extend to the base of the nose. Conversely, a cleft palate is a separation of the roof of the mouth. While these deformities develop separately, a child can have both simultaneously. The causes remain unknown, but genetic and environmental factors can contribute to a cleft lip or palate. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon can resolve these issues through OMS surgery.

When Is Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgery Recommended?


Cleft lip and palate surgery helps restore the facial appearance and upper lip functions of the baby. The ideal time to schedule cleft lip or palate surgery depends on the complexity of the deformity. Most children undergo cleft lip or cleft palate surgery at 12 months of age. However, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon might recommend surgery at three to six months to increase the likelihood of success.

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Procedure


A doctor can diagnose a cleft lip or palate via prenatal ultrasound before birth or with a visual and physical examination after birth. They will then recommend surgery to resolve the issue. Cleft lip and cleft palate surgery typically requires one or two visits.

During cleft lip repair, an OMS surgeon will incise the cleft lip edges before stitching to reapproximate the lip muscles and close the split. Cleft palate surgery is more involving since it entails detaching and rearranging the palate tissues. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon then uses stitches to join the separated sides of the cleft.

Recovery and Aftercare Tips


Our OMS surgeon will provide you with recovery and aftercare instructions. The good news is that babies recover rapidly after surgery. You can continue giving your child baby food, but it must be soft or watery. You may have to use a syringe or special cup for feeding. Keep the incision site clean and administer pain medications to reduce discomfort.

Contact Our Practice Today


Our skilled and experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons are ready to restore the facial appearance of your baby. Contact us today for an evaluation.
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