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In all cases of cleft lip and palate it is necessary, in addition to the comprehensive intervention of a team of specialists, surgery. A cleft, however small, needs to be closed. In a first contact with the plastic surgeon, the parents informed about the steps of the surgery, the risks, complications, costs, recovery time and the results.
In making a decision regarding treatment and / or surgery, the surgeon will consider the baby's age, general health, medical history, the specific qualities of the abnormality, your baby's tolerance for certain medications, and also the opinion of the parents.
For most babies with only a cleft lip, the abnormality (split lip) can be repaired in the first few months of life. Sometimes a second operation is necessary. It is normal for the baby to be irritated after this surgery, but surely the doctor will adopt measures to help him overcome this problem, especially to prevent rubbing the area of the stitches and the surgery.
The stitches will either dissolve on their own or be removed in five to seven days, and the scar will gradually fade. You will also receive guidance on how to feed your baby during the postoperative period.
Your baby's upper lip and nose will have stitches in the area where the cleft lip was repaired. It is normal for you to have swelling, bruising, and blood around the stitches at first, and to feel slight pain, which will be relieved with medications prescribed by your doctor.
Cleft palate surgery is usually done between 9 and 18 months of age, and before 2 years of age, because it is more complicated and can cause more discomfort than cleft lip surgery. Also, your child may not be eating or drinking like he used to and you will need to spend more time and attention on his recovery. In some cases, an intravenous (IV) catheter is used to give you fluids until you can drink normally. Cleft Palate Surgery in Babies
In this procedure, the surgeon will repair the palate so that your child can eat and learn to speak normally. Your child will have stitches on the roof of the mouth where the cleft was repaired, which will dissolve after several days.
In some cases, a surgical pad will be placed on the roof of the mouth. You may have bloody drainage from your nose and mouth at first, which will decrease during the first day. The operated area will present swelling, which will decrease in a week, and your child will complain of discomfort for two or three days, which will be remedied by the doctor.
It is advisable for parents to know what can happen or what to do after their child's surgery. It is common, for example, for the baby to show signs of nasal congestion, followed by snoring, breathing through the mouth, as well as a lack of appetite in terms of feeding. The doctor will determine how long (one to three days) the baby will stay in the hospital and which antibiotics to give to prevent possible infections.
The doctor will also decide what diet the baby should follow after surgery. If your child is still a baby, he should receive a soft diet for the first 7 to 10 days, that is, breast milk directly on the breast, with bottles or a glass. If your child is a bit older, he will likely receive age-appropriate soft foods.
Physical activity is still important even after surgery. The child will be able to walk or play quietly, without exerting himself, of course.
After surgery, medical follow-up will be even more important. A combination of efforts between the specialists and the family of the baby or child is necessary so that there is a proper control of the general health of the child. And in the event that you intend to have another child, it is advisable to turn to a genetic counselor to advise them about the risk of recurrence of the same anomaly in future pregnancies.
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