You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on

This one is about: Important Questions To Ask Your Doctor

(c) 1996 Wide Smiles
This Document is from WideSmiles Website -
Reprint in whole or in part, with out written permission from Wide Smiles
is prohibited. Email:

Questions to ask when selecting a surgeon:

  How long have you practiced?
  How many clefts have you repaired?
  Do you have pictures of children whose clefts you've repaired?
  Can you refer us to their parents?

Questions to ask about the procedure:

  How long will the surgery last?

  Exactly how will the procedure be done?
  (Be sure to repeat this back so that you have complete understanding
  of what will be going on.)

  Will my child need a blood transfusion?  Can I donate blood beforehand
  for her?  Has my child's blood been typed?

  Will there be any 'teaching' going on in the surgery? Will anyone other
  than our surgeon be performing the actual surgery?

  What will be the effect of scarring? Where will the physical scars be

  What types of events after surgery can make scarring worse?

  What types of physical distress will there be (i.e. swelling, bruising,
  redness of the area?)  How long will these last?

  Is the anesthesiologist used to working with children? 
  (If not a Children's hospital)

  Can we (the parents) be present when the anesthesia is administered?

  Are we allowed in the recovery room?

  What will be the time spent in the recovery room?

  When will the sutures be removed? Is this an office or hospital 

  What type of diet/food restrictions will be required?

  Can my child use a bottle? Cup? Spoon?

  If not, when can she begin using these again?

Questions of the hospital administrator:

  Can my spouse and I both stay with our child?

  Can extended family stay with the child in the parents' absence?
  (ie. grandma, grandpa, aunt, etc.)

  Is there a shower available?

  Do we have access to the Ronald McDonald House? (Children's hospitals)

  What are the cafeteria hours?  Can I have food brought in for myself?

  Are you sure there isn't anything more comfortable than this joke of a

  My personal favorite .. can I bring in my beanbag chair?
  (Lindsey loves it and we cuddle on it!)

Questions to ask about aftercare:

  What type of pain medicine can my child have? How often can she have 

  Who do I call if I feel this is not enough?

  Should we clean the sutures? How do we do this? How often?  Do we need 
  to put on a dressing (tape, gauze, etc.?)

  What types of things are warning signs for infection? Whom should we 
  call if we see any signs? Surgeon? Primary Care Physician?

  How long will the IV need to be in?

  Is coughing up blood normal?  After how long a duration should I begin 
  to get concerned?

  Will my child need to use arm restraints?  For how long?  What about 
  supervised periods of time without them?

  When can my child return to her regular diet?

  When will our follow-up visit be?  Do I need to make this appointment 
  myself or will the hospital staff make it for me?

  What type of pain medication should we use at home?

  - Jerrie

Wide Smiles depends on donations to continue to provide this resource for you.
Please help keep us online!

Cleft Links | Wide Smiles | Photo Gallery