Table of contents:
- How the surgery is performed
- What is the baby's recovery like
- How to feed the baby after surgery
- When taking your baby to the dentist
Surgery to correct the cleft lip is usually performed from 3 months of age onwards, if the baby is in good he alth, within the ideal weight and without anemia. Surgery to correct the cleft palate can be done when the baby is approximately 18 months old.
The cleft palate is characterized by an opening in the roof of the baby's mouth, while the cleft lip is characterized by a 'cut' or lack of tissue between the baby's upper lip and nose, being easily recognized. These are the most common genetic alterations in Brazil, which can be solved with plastic surgery.
Learn the causes of cleft lip and palate.
How the surgery is performed
Plastic surgery for cleft lip and cleft palate is performed under general anesthesia, as it is a delicate and precise procedure, although simple, requiring the baby to remain still. The procedure is quick, takes less than 2 hours and requires only 1 day of hospitalization.
After that the baby can be taken home where he will continue to recover. After waking up, it is normal for the baby to be irritated and want to put his hand on his face and to prevent the baby from putting his hands on his face, which can impair healing, the doctor may suggest that the baby keep his elbows bandaged with a diaper or gauze to keep your arms straight.
Recently, the participation of the Unified He alth System (SUS) in plastic surgery for cleft lip and palate was approved.In addition, SUS becomes responsible for providing follow-up and complementary treatment for babies, such as a psychologist, dentist and speech therapist so that speech development and chewing and sucking movements can be stimulated.
What is the baby's recovery like
After 1 week of surgery for cleft lip correction, the baby will be able to breastfeed and after 30 days of surgery the baby should be evaluated by a speech therapist because exercises are usually necessary for him to be able to speak normally. The mother can massage the baby's lip that will help it to heal better, preventing adhesions. This massage should be done with the index finger at the beginning of the scar in circular movements with firm but gentle pressure up to the lip.
How to feed the baby after surgery
After surgery, the baby should eat only liquid or pasty foods until complete healing, because the pressure that solid food makes in the mouth when chewing can lead to the opening of the stitches, making recovery and even speech difficult.
Some examples of what the baby can eat are porridge, soup blended in a blender, juice, smoothie, puree. To add protein, you can add pieces of meat, chicken or egg to the soup and mix everything in the blender, being an excellent option for lunch and dinner.
When taking your baby to the dentist
The first appointment should be before surgery, to assess the position of the teeth, dental arch and oral he alth, but after 1 month of surgery, you should go to the dentist again so that he can assess whether some procedure is still needed, such as dental surgery or the use of appliances, for example. Learn more about your baby's first visit to the dentist.