American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Cleft Lip and Palate Repair

Correcting Abnormal Development

Cleft lip and palate repair surgically corrects abnormal development, restoring function to the lips and mouth and producing a more normal appearance.

What are the risks of cleft lip and palate repair?

The repair of a cleft lip and/or palate is important for your child's development and quality of life. Your plastic surgeon will explain the benefits, goals and potential risks or complications. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure, the alternatives and the most likely risks or potential complications.

Possible cleft surgery risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Irregular healing of scars including shortening, thickening or overgrowth
  • Residual irregularities and asymmetries in the lip or nose
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Respiratory problems after surgery
  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, topical preparations or injected agents
  • Damage to deeper structures—such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and auditory canal can occur and may be temporary or permanent
  • Possibility of revisional surgery


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