American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Risks and Safety

The decision to have cleft surgery is extremely personal and 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.

The risks include:

  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations, or injected agents
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to deeper structures—such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles—can occur and may be temporary or permanent
  • Infection
  • Irregular healing of scars including contracture (puckering or pulling together of tissues)
  • Poor healing of incisions in the lip or palate
  • Residual irregularities and asymmetries

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It should be noted that most of these risks can be prevented or corrected. It's important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. It is possible that further surgeries will be necessary.


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