After each operation your baby will be cared for in the recovery ward until they are fully awake and able to look after their airway safely. No doubt your child will look pale and be very sleepy at first and often there is a little blood trickling from the nose, mouth or both.
Twenty-four hours later most children have recovered amazingly well and can take liquid or very soft diets. Soft diets are usually necessary for another week or so. Some surgeons require a non-sucking form of feeding after the surgery. Check with your surgeon on their requirements.
Your child may also have to wear arm splints for three to four weeks to prevent fingers or other objects being introduced into the mouth, which could damage the delicate stitches of the repair in the first weeks. Each surgeon has slightly different protocols, so ask what your surgeon will require.
Remember that the baby you know will return. Get sleep and support when you need it, each day your baby will move a step closer to full recovery.
Some children born with cleft lip and palate will require Jaw surgery. In addition to the recovery periods we have been used to for children when they are younger, here are some guidelines to remember for this surgery.
- Your child is now a young person and will be much more involved in the decision making process
- Oral hygiene is essential for rapid healing and the prevention of infection
- A soft diet is required for four to six weeks. Adequate nutrition is hard to maintain, but essential for healing. Many young people lose weight with this procedure.
- Require at least two weeks off school or work.
- Final outcomes of this surgery takes time. Orthodontic treatment may be required and last up to 6-12 months after the surgery.