Cleft Lip Surgery
The cleft clip surgery aims primarily to close the cleft hole and restore the natural bow shape of the lips. It can also help to remove the abnormality in the nostril rim.
This type of deformity may occur either at one side (unilateral) or two sides (bilateral). The formation of lips and nose occurs at the same time and hence the abnormalities of nostril rim and nose tip are observed. The problems with speaking, feeding, hearing, teeth, and psychological development are observed in such patients.
Need During the early pregnancy, the lips originate at three separate portions and their proper fusion is failed causing the problem of cleft lips. In the early developmental stages, the right and left side of the lip and the mouth roof grow together. The separation in lips is found in every one out of 800 babies and the child is said to have a cleft lip. If your child faces this problem, the surgery is recommended.
Procedure The type of anesthesia used, possible risks, complications, recovery, costs and recovery are discussed with you in the first consultation. The cleft lip team may include professionals such as a plastic surgeon, a dentist, a throat-ear-nose specialist, a pediatrician, a psychologist, a nurse, a genetic councilor, a speech and language specialist, a hearing specialist and a social worker. Early help is found to be beneficial in such cases. Children may need the help from medical professionals or plastic surgery to correct the problems. The surgery aims at forming a single natural lip through incision formation followed by the process of bringing together the separated portion of the lips. The operation is held in the operative room of general anesthesia so the child can sleep during the entire process.
For a child, it takes 10 to 12 weeks to repair the lip. There is difference in optimum time from child to child.
Various methods of lip repairing are available which is also known as cheiloplasty. The surgeon decides the suitable method depending upon the type of cleft. If the child grows without any treatment, additional operation known as lip revision may be required. This operation is performed to avoid future distortions that may arise in lip.
Result Cleft lip surgery helps in closing the cleft hole and gives a natural bow shape to the lips. It also helps in removing the abnormality in the nostril rim.
Consideration After performing operation, the child has to sleep in the crib to reduce the swelling. Usually, the child is discharged from the hospital in one or two days depending on his capacity of liquid intake. Pain medications are prescribed and the ointments are given to apply on the lips. The stitches gets dissolved or removed after five days of operation. At the beginning, the surgical scar may appear bigger in size and intense red in color. However, this signs will fade gradually and disappear.
After the surgery, the lips may appear red and swollen. The small tape strips are placed across the slit to reduce the tension, as a protection from rubbing or accidental bump and for the reinforcement of repairing.
Feeding after surgery
For a little baby, feeding is possible through a syringe or spoon. Feeding with a cup is possible for an older child. Breast feeding is usually not possible in such cases.
The cleft lip teams are available for the guidance. The team may also help the parents to design a plan for their childs health.
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