Following the instructions below will prevent injury to your child’s newly repaired lip and aid in their healing process.
Cleansing the Lip
Your child’s lip repair uses Dermabond. You may begin cleaning their lip on the third day after surgery. The lip may be cleansed as needed with a solution of ½ strength hydrogen peroxide. This is made by mixing equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide with water. Do not use any Neosporin, Vaseline or ointments at the surgical site as these will cause the Dermabond to melt. Following surgery, the lower teeth may be brushed, and your child’s upper teeth can be brushed two weeks after surgery. Make sure to use only a foam or soft bristle toothbrush for at least the first two weeks of brushing.
You child will also have tubes in his or her nose. These tubes are called nasal stents. It is important to keep these tubes clean and prevent them from becoming clogged. The tubes can be cleaned with a Q-tip that has been moistened with water.
Restraining & Positioning
Your child should wear arm restraints (no-no’s) at all times to keep him or her from touching or putting anything in their mouth. The arm restraints should be removed one at a time twice daily for 15-30 minutes to allow for elbow exercising. This should be done only under careful observation. These restraints are not uncomfortable and are for your child’s safety. They will be necessary for 2-3 weeks after surgery.
It is also important to keep your child from rolling over onto his or her side or stomach, as pressure against the surgical area could cause injury. Positioning your child on his or her back in an infant seat or a seat supported on both sides will help to prevent them from rolling over.
To help healing and decrease tension to the suture line, your child will need to be fed using only the tip of the nipple in his or her mouth. NO pacifiers should be used during this time. We suggest you place the nipple on the unaffected side. If your child has a bilateral cleft repair, the nipple should be placed in the middle of the mouth. Your child should be fed in a sitting position, both slowly and carefully, allowing the necessary time for burping. Feeding this way is necessary for 2-3 weeks. If you are breastfeeding, you may continue to do so at this time.
Your child should return to our office one week following his or her cleft lip repair. Post-op appointments can be made by calling 314-268-4010.
If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our nurse coordinator at 314-577-5368, or the department of plastic surgery at 314-678-2171.