A cleft lip is a birth condition that causes an opening or a split on a baby’s lip. This split may be very small or go all the way to the base of the nose. If you do not repair your child’s cleft lip, then they will have feeding and speech issues when they get older. The only way to cure this birth condition is by getting cleft lip repair surgery.
Cleft lip repair surgery is often done when the kid is two or three months old. It may be scary to let your small baby get an operation, but this is the safest way to cure the problem. If you delay cleft lip repair surgery until your child is older, then you are only going to increase the risk of dangerous side effects. Delaying the surgery may also allow your child to develop some irreversible symptoms associated with the condition.
Feeding a child with a cleft lip can be extremely difficult, but they must be a healthy weight before getting the surgery. Once your child has been deemed healthy enough for surgery, you must avoid giving them any medications that can prevent blood clotting for at least ten days. You will also have to make sure your baby does not eat or drink anything the morning of their surgery.
During cleft lip repair surgery, Dr. Rauscher can remove and reshape the tissues surrounding the cleft lip to close it. The cleft lip will then be sewed together to create a natural-looking lip.
Full recovery does not typically occur for a month, so you will have to take special care of the area after returning home. You will need to regularly clean and apply ointment to the area to avoid an infection. Your baby will be on a strict liquid diet until their lip is fully healed. It is also important to keep your child’s hands out of their mouth during the healing process. This can be very difficult to achieve for a small child, so they may have to wear arm splints until fully recovered.
Once your child has recovered from cleft lip repair surgery, you should notice a drastic change in their eating habits. It will be much easier to get your child to eat, and they should be able to easily maintain a healthy weight.
Dr. Gregory E. Rauscher, MD is well-versed in cleft lip and cleft palate repair surgery. During a consultation at his office in Hackensack, he will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.