Cleft lip and or anterior palate repair sutures

  • Pain control

    Give paracetamol and codeine as required for pain. Avoid aspirin. Your child may seem more "clingy" than usual due to mild discomfort and a change in his/her routine. Tender loving care is recommended.


    After cleft lip surgery there will be sutures (stitches) in your child's lip. The number of sutures used in the incision line will depend on the extent of the initial deformity and the type of repair technique used. The area will be pink around the sutures and slightly swollen. Care for the suture line on the lip as you have been shown by the nurses in hospital. This may involve frequent application of an ointment to the lip that will prevent drying out of the wound and reduce more noticeable swelling. Keep the suture line clean of crusting at all times.


    Fluids and soft diet. Your child can eat and drink using the same method as used prior to the surgery. Do not allow fizzy drinks or objects to be placed inside the mouth (including straws, dummies).

    Medical attention

    Seek medical attention if your child has:

    • Increasing pain or pain not relieved by medication
    • Persistent fever
    • General unwellness
    • Wound discharge
    • Poor oral intake/feeding
    • Crusting and redness of the suture line

    Removal of sutures

    Keep the suture line clean of crusting at all times. Pain from removing the sutures is minimal and your child will not require significant amounts of medication. Give paracetamol if he/she is unsettled.


    A review appointment should be made to see a doctor within two weeks; after this you will be seen in our Cleft Clinic in a few months.


    Pru Talbot (Cleft Co-ordinator) - 9345 6595
    Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery Office - 9345 6583
    Outpatient appointments - 9345 6180
    Plastic Surgery Resident or Registrar - via switchboard on 9345 5522

    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Speech Pathology and Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Reviewed November 2015.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit


This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.