Preparing for Cleft Palate Surgery | Craniofacial Clinic | Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD)
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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Preparing for Cleft Palate Surgery

Things you should know before your child’s cleft palate repair:

  • You will check in at Same Day Surgery, located on Level 4 at DHMC.
  • Your child cannot eat or drink anything for 6-8 hours before your surgery. You will receive a call from a nurse in our Same Day Surgery program the day before your child’s surgery to go over this information.
  • We do not use arm restraints after the surgery.
  • Your child can have something to eat and drink immediately after he or she wakes up.
  • A nutritional consultant will meet with you when your child is in the recovery room.
  • Your child will not have a bandage or any special instructions for care after he or she wakes up from surgery, other than having something to eat and drink.
  • For pain medications, we will put an IV with morphine in your child’s arm for his or her first night in the hospital. Then, we will give the child Tylenol or Lortab on the first day after surgery.
  • The surgery will last approximately 2-4 hours.
  • Most patients stay in hospital for one night (65% of patients) and a smaller number stay for two nights (35% of patients).
  • There will be a stitch on your child’s tongue for 1-2 hours after surgery.
  • Risks:
    • Airway and tongue edema: would develop within 24 hours after surgery, however this is very rare
    • Fistula (hole): happens in only 5-10% of patients
  • We will schedule follow-up appointments for your child 1 week, 6 weeks and 6 months after surgery.
  • There will be a bed and a couch in the room
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