Cleft Lip Surgical Repair

Cleft lip is a deformity of the lip that occurs when it fails to join, or fuse, as a child is developing before birth. One or both sides of the lip may be affected.

Cleft lip usually occurs on the upper lip.

The goal is for every infant to gain weight. Babies born with cleft lips typically require special bottles for feeding.  There are no changes to an infant's feeding following cleft lip repair.

If your baby has trouble with feeding, there are special feeding techniques that are helpful. Please contact the Plastic Surgery Office, 513-636-7181, or the Craniofacial Team, 513-636-4539.

Repair of cleft lip is usually performed when the baby is 3 months of age.

Immediately following surgery, your child's incision and the area around the nostrils will need to be gently cleansed of bloody drainage and dried blood. Gently cleanse with water using a cotton swab daily.

Your baby will have elbow restraints for one to two weeks after surgery (physician dependent) to keep hands away from the surgical site. Restraints need to be removed to exercise the arms. Remove one restraint at a time, on a rotating basis, every hour or so to exercise and massage the arms. Your child must be supervised when the elbow restraint is off.

It is normal for your baby to have some redness for a couple of weeks. Call your child's doctor if you notice:

  • Increased redness, swelling, and/or drainage
  • Fever
  • Separation of the incision line

Last Updated 07/2014