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Care Tips for Your Child After Cleft Lip Surgery – NJ Craniofacial Center

Posted on Mar 31, 2023

Cleft lip and palate are among the most common birth defects that affect a child’s facial development. Fortunately, cleft lip repair surgery can help to correct this condition, allowing children to lead normal, healthy lives. However, as with any surgical procedure, proper care and attention are required during the recovery period to ensure that your child heals properly and quickly.

At the NJ Craniofacial Center, we understand the importance of providing comprehensive care for our young patients undergoing cleft lip repair surgery. Here are some care tips to help you prepare for and manage your child’s recovery after cleft lip surgery:

Preparing for Your Child’s Surgery

Before the procedure, it is essential to meet with the surgeon and anesthesia team to discuss the details of the surgery, including any pre-operative instructions such as fasting or medication restrictions. It’s also important to prepare your child emotionally for the procedure, which can be frightening for a young child. Talk to them about what will happen during the surgery and what to expect during the recovery period.

Meeting with the Surgeon and Anesthesia Team:

Before the surgery, you will meet with the surgeon and anesthesia team to discuss the procedure and any concerns you may have. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you have about the procedure, what to expect before and after the surgery, and any potential complications.

Pre-operative Instructions:

Your child’s surgeon will provide you with pre-operative instructions to follow before the surgery. These instructions will typically include fasting instructions, which will help prevent complications during the procedure. Your child may also need to stop taking certain medications or supplements before the surgery, so be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully.

Emotional Preparation:

It’s essential to prepare your child emotionally for the surgery. Depending on your child’s age you can explain the procedure to them in an age-appropriate way. Reassure them that they will be safe and comfortable during the procedure, and let them know what to expect after the surgery.

What to Expect After Surgery

Post-operative Care:

After cleft lip repair surgery, your child may experience discomfort or pain. Proper pain management is crucial during this time, and your child’s surgeon will provide instructions on how to manage their pain. Wound care is also essential to ensure that the incision site heals properly. This may include cleaning the site regularly and applying topical ointments or creams.

Feeding and Nutrition

Feeding and nutrition can be challenging for babies and young children after cleft lip surgery. Your child’s surgeon will provide specific instructions on how to feed your child during the recovery period, which may include using a special feeding device or position. It’s important to follow these instructions closely to ensure that your child receives proper nutrition and hydration.

Managing Emotions:

It’s also essential to manage your child’s emotions during the recovery period. They may feel anxious, frustrated, or uncomfortable, and it’s important to provide comfort and reassurance. You can help distract your child with toys or activities that don’t require physical exertion or contact with the incision site.

Follow-Up Care and Potential Complications

Follow-up care is critical to ensure that your child’s incision site heals properly and that there are no complications. Your child’s surgeon will provide instructions on when to schedule follow-up appointments and what to look out for in terms of signs of infection or other complications. If you have any concerns about your child’s recovery, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.


Cleft lip repair surgery can be a life-changing procedure for children affected by this condition. By following proper care instructions and providing emotional support, you can help your child recover quickly and comfortably. At NJ Craniofacial Center, we’re committed to providing comprehensive care for our young patients, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s cleft lip surgery, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.


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To schedule a private consultation with NJ Craniofacial Center, please call our office or request an appointment online. We look forward to your visit.

131 Madison Avenue, Third Floor, Morristown, NJ 07960

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