Long Beach Cleft Lip and Palate Correction
Southern California Plastic Surgery Group
About one in every 800 children is born with a separation in the upper lip or the roof of the mouth and some are born with both.
Cleft lip or palate correction can play a very important role in your child’s development.
A cleft lip or palate can affect:
- Development of teeth
- Speech and hearing
- Psychological development
Children with a cleft palate are more likely to develop ear infections and tubes may be inserted in the eardrum to help prevent them.
Parents should begin to seek treatment for a cleft lip or palate as soon as they are aware of the problem. Dr. Hicks will work with other health care professionals as part of a Cleft Team. A cleft team often includes:
- Your pediatrician
- A speech specialist
- A hearing specialist
- A dentist
- A genetic counselor
- A psychologist
Cleft lip correction
The surgery is normally performed at about ten weeks of age.
- An incision is made from the lip to the nostril on each side of the cleft
- The dark outer portion is turned down and the muscle and skin of the lip are pulled together
- The incision is closed with stitches which are also used to create a normal cupid’s bow in the upper lip
Cleft lip recovery
After the surgery your baby may be restless. Dr. Hicks will prescribe pain medication to minimize discomfort and may recommend elbow restraints to keep him or her from rubbing the incision.
Stitches dissolve or are removed in about five days. Dr. Hicks will give you detailed instructions for feeding and bathing your baby during the first few weeks after surgery.
Cleft palate correction
Although the basic process is similar, cleft palate correction is a more extensive surgery than cleft lip correction and is normally performed at when the child is nine to 18 months old. An incision is made on both sides of the separation and the tissue is drawn together from both sides of the cleft.
Cleft palate recovery
Your baby may be sore for a day or two.
- Dr. Hicks will prescribe pain medication to minimize discomfort, and may recommend elbow restraints to prevent him or her from rubbing the area
- Intravenous fluids will be given because your baby will not eat or drink very much during the first couple of days
- Dr. Hicks will give you detailed instructions for feeding and bathing your baby during the first few weeks after surgery