Cleft lip surgery (1639)

Key points below

What is a cleft lip?2 Cleft images with text EN

Cleft means divided or split. A cleft lip is a divided or split area in the lip. A cleft lip occurs when the lip tissue does not completely close as a baby develops in the womb. A cleft lip does not cause pain for the baby. The doctor may use these words to describe the cleft lip:

Surgery to repair a cleft lip is normally done once the baby is at least 10 weeks of age and weighs at least 10 pounds. If the baby was born prematurely or has other health problems, surgery may be delayed. The plastic surgeon will suggest the best time for your baby to have surgery.

What happens before surgery?

How is it done?

What happens after surgery?

Watch your child closely when the immobilizers are off. It may be hard to keep them on, but the repair must be protected so it can heal properly.

What care is needed after surgery?

For dissolving stitches

Keep the incision clean and dry. You may gently clean it with a moistened cotton-tipped applicator or wash cloth. Then pat dry. It is ok to bathe your child. Follow the instructions given by your child’s surgeon.

For stitches that need to be removed

What home care is needed?

Follow Up

Make an appointment to see your child's doctor about 1 to 2 weeks after the stitches are removed.

For more information


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child:

  • Injures the repaired area.
  • Has redness, swelling, or drainage at the incision.
  • Has a large amount of bleeding from the nose or mouth
  • Has a temperature above 101F (38.3 C).
  • Is drinking less than before surgery.
  • Has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.