Cleft Lip in Richmond, VA

As babies develop in the womb, the left and right side of the lip and roof of the mouth grow together. Unfortunately, nature does not always take the expected course, and some children are born with a cleft lip and palate. Richmond Plastic Surgeons offers cleft lip and palate repair for children and adults in Richmond, Midlothian and surrounding areas of Virginia. 

What is a Cleft Lip?

A cleft lip and palate develop inside the womb when the left and right side of the lip and/or roof of the mouth do not completely fuse together. Approximately one in every 800 children are born with the condition. A cleft lip is the condition that involves an upper lip that does not develop properly, and a cleft palate is the condition in which the roof of the mouth does not develop properly. Children may have one or both conditions.

Benefits of Treatment for a Cleft Lip

A cleft lip and palate present unique challenges and medical concerns for your child. Eating, drinking, talking and breathing can be difficult. Your child may also be more vulnerable to infections and other problems.

Who is the Ideal Candidate for Cleft Lip Treatment?

Cleft lip and palate repair is recommended for all children who have either condition.

What Do I Need to Do Before Having Cleft Lip Treatment?

Repairing a cleft lip and palate requires the skills of a highly trained and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon as well as a team of medical specialists. Your best first step is to schedule a consultation at Richmond Plastic Surgeons. The appointment is most helpful to the parents who often have questions about the surgery, benefits, aftercare and long-term outcomes of the surgery.

What Should I Expect on The Day of the Cleft Lip Treatment?

Your surgeon will recommend the surgery be performed at a specific point of development.

Cleft Lip Repair

Cleft lip surgery is most often performed on children who are at least 10 weeks old. The surgeon makes an incision on both sides of the cleft that starts at the mouth and extends to the nostrils. The outer portion of the cleft is turned down, and the muscle and skin are pulled together.

Cleft Palate Repair

Children should be at least nine to 18 months old before having cleft palate repair. The surgeon makes an incision on either side of the separation. The tissues and muscles are then moved toward the center of the mouth and sutured in place.

How Long Does It Take to Perform Cleft Lip Treatment?

Cleft lip and palate repair take two to six hours.

What to Expect After Cleft Lip Treatment

Your child will be tired and restless after cleft lip and palate repair. We will prescribe medication to help alleviate any discomfort. Your child will not be able to eat or drink for the first few days after surgery, so we may use an IV drip to maintain hydration. You will need to prevent your child from rubbing the surgical site, and we can support this by providing elbow restraints. Bandages are removed within two days, and sutures are removed after five days. You will need to follow special instructions for feeding your child.

Will I Have Scars After Getting Cleft Lip Treatment?

Your child may have a visible scar from cleft lip repair. The scar will first develop as a red mark along the incision line and then fade over the course of one year.

When Will I See the Results?

You will see results immediately after the surgery.

What Are Possible Complications of Cleft Lip Treatment?

The most common complication associated with cleft lip repair is asymmetry. Your child may need a second surgery to correct this. If your child develops an improper speech pattern after cleft palate repair, a second surgery may be needed to refine the roof of the mouth.

How Long Will the Results of Cleft Lip Treatment Last?

The results of cleft lip and palate repair are permanent.

How Much Does Cleft Lip Treatment Cost in Richmond?

Insurance may cover a portion of the cost of cleft lip and palate repair. We will explain your out-of-pocket costs after your consultation. For your convenience, Richmond Plastic Surgeons accepts several forms of payment, including CareCredit® financing.

Having a child who is born with a cleft lip and palate can feel overwhelming, but the board-certified plastic surgeons of Richmond Plastic Surgery are here to provide the exceptional care and support you and your child need for cleft lip and palate repair. Contact us today to schedule your personal consultation.