Cleft palate repair is a medical surgery to fix a hole in the palate located at the mouth roof. It is crucial to repair the cleft early between 6 and 18 months of age. Cleft palate repair surgery is done under general anesthesia that will make the child go to deep sleep during the surgery.
When the child is sleeping, the surgeon will perform the steps below;
1. Place a device into the mouth to keep it wide open during the surgery.
2. Make cuts on the two sides of the palate up to the cleft.
3. Loosen the tissue layer attached to the hard overate bone. This is to allow the stretching of tissues.
4. Cut down the gums to allow the stretching of the palate tissue and moved towards the middle of the mouth roof. The cuts along the gums are left open for quick healing over time.
5. Close the inner layer of the tissue using stitches that can dissolve as the cut heals.
6. Close the outer tissue layer with stitches that will dissolve.
7. The incision inside the child’s mouth will appear like a Z.
During the first days after the surgery, you may make the following observations;
1. There might be a little blood in the mucous that appear pink.
2. The child may snore for some days. This will disappear when the swelling reduces.
3. The child may find it hard to sleep. Sleep habits will come to normal later after several days.
4. The child’s appetite will not be that good compared to as it was before. After surgery, it is quite crucial to ensure that the child takes enough liquids to reduce dehydration.
If left untreated, a child with will face a lot of problems with speech development, hearing problem, growth, and feeding.
Almost all children born with cleft palate are able to lead a healthy and happy life when the cleft has been repaired.