Cleft Lip

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF OTOLARYNGOLOGY-HEAD & NECK SURGERY

POST-OPERATIVE CARE FOLLOWING

Cleft Lip

ACTIVITY

Arm cuffs with velcro (No-No’s) will be secured at the time of surgery, and should be worn AT ALL TIMES for 2 weeks following surgery, as it is important that fingers and toys stay away from the lip/mouth. The arm cuffs may be removed for supervised periods but care must be observed to avoid contact with the lip.  Your child may otherwise resume normal activities.

PACIFIERS SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR 3 WEEKS, as their use may disrupt the stitches or the repair.

 

DIET

After surgery, continue the same feeding method that your child was using before surgery. Due to the new orientation of your child’s lip and nose, bottle feeding will often take longer as they adjust to the narrower nasal cavity.  The baby should be held in a sitting position, fed slowly and carefully, allowing ample time for burping. Hard candy or crunchy foods such as cookies, dry cereals or crackers should NOT be offered, as these can disrupt the repair.

 

WOUND CARE

The lip repair is typically close with absorbable sutures and tissue glue. Absorbable sutures and tissue glue slowly break down over 10-14 days, often with a crusty or flaky appearance. You may notice the ends or “tails” of the stitches along the incision. IT IS IMPORTANT that NO topical bacitracin, neopsorin, Vaseline or similar products be applied to the repair, as these may break down the tissue glue and/or absorbable sutures. A small amount of soap and water may be used to clean around the area safely. It is normal for the lip to become swollen the day after surgery.  This subsides of the next couple of days.

 

MEDICATIONS

Mild to moderate pain is expected with the procedure.  A prescription for oral pain medication will be given at the time of discharge. For safety, the medication dose is based your child’s weight and should be given as instructed.

Your child will also be given a prescription for an oral antibiotic that should be taken until completion.

 

FOLLOW UP VISITS

Your child should return to clinic for a routine follow up visit approximately 1-2 weeks after surgery. Please call 434-924-5700 to confirm the postoperative appointment.

 

CONCERNS/CONTACT NUMBERS

During office hours, call 410-243-9391 for Dr. Jared Christophel if; persistent fever (greater than 101 degrees), excessive drainage or bleeding, difficulty breathing, difficulty eating or food refusal, excessive crying, irritability or complaints of pain.  After office hours, call 434-924-0000 and ask for the resident on call for ENT to be paged. In the event of an emergency, call 911.