Preparing for Primary Cleft Lip and/or Palate Repair Surgeries

Will my child need surgery?
Most children born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate undergo surgery within the first year of life. The goals of lip repair surgery are to close a cleft lip with minimal scarring, to create a natural appearance, and to ensure typical growth of the face. The goal of palate repair surgery is to close the cleft in the palate so that the palate will function normally during eating, drinking, and talking.

The timing of these procedures will vary from child to child, depending on the diagnosis and other factors. Both procedures take place in a hospital or surgical center.
Typically, a child will spend at least one night in the hospital for each procedure, with his or her parent staying as well. Sometimes, a child can go home on the same day as his or her cleft lip surgery. The best way to find out about your child’s particular needs is to speak with his or her surgeon and team.

How much does surgery cost?
Many health insurance policies will pay for cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries. These procedures are considered “reconstructive surgery.” To find out about coverage for your child, contact your insurance company directly.

Learn more about Preparing for Surgeryincluding:

  • What does the surgeon do during the procedure?
  • What are the risks?
  • What happens following the surgery?
  • Question to ask the surgical team