Cleft lip and palate repair is done when the child has visible cleft lift and/or palate. Cleft lip repair is performed when the child is between 6-12 weeks old, while cleft palate repair is performed when the child is between 9 months and a year old. Cleft palate repair is delayed in order to allow normal growth of the palate.
Surgery in children is sometimes delayed when more life-threatening problems are present, such as heart or lung disorders.
Like other surgeries, cleft lip and/or cleft palate repair requires that your child undergo certain general surgery procedures such as preoperative blood testing, medications, and cessation of smoking or use of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Your child may be fitted with an intraoral device called an obturator, which will assist in proper feeding and maintaining the arch of the lip prior to repair.
Pain and discomfort may occur immediately after surgery, but can be controlled with regular over-the-counter pain relievers. You will be given instructions on how to care for the site and feed your child. You will also be informed of restrictions on your child’s activity and when to follow up with the plastic surgeon. Healing will continue for several weeks, and sutures may be removed in a follow-up visit after surgery. Diligent sun protection will help prevent the formation of darker or more visible scars.
Complications are possible with any plastic surgery. As with any surgery, there are risks of complications related to infection, allergies to tape or other surgical materials, or adverse reactions to anesthesia. Bleeding, delayed incision healing, irregular scarring, and damage to deeper structures are also a possibility, although cleft lip and palate repair is a relatively low risk procedure.
$5,000+ (depending on exact case)