Your child has undergone pediatric cleft lip surgery New York, and the opening in the roof of their mouth is now closed. But what happens next? It takes time for your child to fully recover. There are things you should know about your child’s care to prevent any complications.
After a pediatric cleft lip surgery New York, it will take a while before the root of your child’s mouth fully heals. Your child may not be able to feel this part for a while after the surgery. Because of this, you need to protect it from injury for about three weeks after the surgery. That’s right – your child can injure the root of the mouth without your child knowing it.
What to expect after a pediatric cleft lip surgery New York
After a few days following a pediatric cleft lip surgery New York, you may see the following:
- A small amount of blood in the saliva or mucus for several days and may appear pink.
- Difficulty in sleeping. After the surgery, your child may find it difficult to sleep, but it should return to normal after several weeks.
- More clear drainage (mucus) from the nose. The opening between the mouth and nose is now closed, so it will take several weeks before it stops. Mucus will start draining directly into the mouth after.
- Snoring or sounding congested. You’ll notice this behavior for several weeks, but it will go away after the swelling goes down, and when there’s less drainage.
How to protect the repair after a pediatric cleft lip surgery New York
To help protect the repair, keep hard objects away – or at least keep them out of your child’s reach while their palate is healing. Discuss with your surgeon if a pacifier is necessary. Below are some objects at home that can potentially hurt your child’s mouth:
- Drinking straws
- Forks, spoons, and knives
- Small metal, wooden, or plastic toys
- Toys with tiny parts
Mouth care tips
Cleaning your child’s teeth and gums can be challenging after a pediatric cleft lip surgery New York. Use a gauze pad dipped in plain water and then wipe the front of the teeth only. You may also use a small amount of alcohol-free mouthwash mixed with water. For 3 weeks, don’t use a toothbrush in your child’s mouth. And after eating, have your child drink water to keep the mouth clean.
Tips after a pediatric cleft lip surgery New York
Discuss with your surgeon whether or not your child will need to wear arm splints for three weeks. These splints can help keep your child from putting their fingers into their mouth, which can accidentally damage the repair. If your surgeon says yes, then make sure that a nurse shows you how to properly put the splints on before leaving the hospital.
Eating and drinking
Your child may not be able to eat as well as before the surgery, and this can go on for a while. As a parent, below are tips that you should follow:
- After the cleft lip surgery, you can still let your child drink from a bottle, sippy cup, or open cup,
- Do not give foods that have lumps, chunks, or pieces, like grains, seeds, pulp, or skin.
- Do not give hard or crunchy foods, like cookies, cereal, or chips
- Do not let your child feed himself during this period
- Give soft, mashed, or pureed foods for 3 weeks.
- Make sure to check if the food isn’t too hot when feeding your child.
- When feeding your child, make sure to use a spoon.
- You may continue feeding your child with the same bottle system you used before the surgery.
During this time, make sure that your child is drinking enough liquids – staying hydrated is important. You’ll know if your child is drinking enough if they have the same number of wet diapers as before the surgery. Your child should have at least 1 wet diaper in 8 hours. Otherwise, this may be a sign of dehydration.
Physical Activities and Playing
Your child may still want to play as usual, but you need to make sure you’re watching them more carefully, especially during the first few weeks after the surgery. Never let other children give your child things to eat or play with without your approval. And most importantly, only let your child play with soft toys. After all, they’re the best for your child while their palate is healing.
Medications and pain
Your child needs to take medicines after the surgery, as directed by the doctor. Your child will need an antibiotic – this needs to be taken until it’s fully consumed.
Your child may experience pain after the surgery, and that’s normal. Even though your surgeon and medical team did everything they could to achieve the best pain control, your child will still experience pain or discomfort.
The doctor may prescribe your child a medicine called Lortab or Oxycodone. The doctor may also give your child OTC pain medicines, like Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen), or Tylenol (acetaminophen) instead of Lortab or Oxycodone.
After a few days, your child will only need the OTC pain medicine.
When dressing your child, choose button-down t-shirts or the ones that can be zipped, so you don’t have to lift the shirt over the face and head. Also, make sure to let your child wear long-sleeved shirts under the arm splints. The sleeves will make the splints stay in place to prevent irritation on the skin.
If things don’t go well after the surgery, you might need to get in touch with your child’s doctor, especially if they have any of the following:
- Fever over 101°F when taken rectally
- Pain that doesn’t go away after taking pain medicines
- Any bleeding in the mouth or injury to the incision
- Difficulty drinking or eating
- A dry diaper for more than 8 hours
- Taken the wrong medicine or too many pain medicines