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

This one is about: More on Fistulas

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A parent writes:

We went for his 1-month post-op and his small fistula had closed up (HALLELUIA!). We don't have to go back to the PS for SIX months! I am one happy mommy!


This is a good time to point out that this happens fairly often. During the healing process of almost ANY suture line, it is possible to see little breaks in the line as it heals and mends. But MANY times, that little hole is not much more than a 'burp' in the process, and it closes back up again all by itself, if left alone to heal. When the hole gets infected, or gets wider, or when the sides of the hole heal over before it has a chance to close again, then you get a fistula. In that case... it simply failed to adhese. And so, it separates. But when the stitches are still in, and the tissue is still healing .... very careful maintenance of the site (keeping it clean.. no poking around to see it better...and no trauma) will generally see it close -- or at least get a whole lot smaller -- all by itself.

So...we always want to see how well the thing healed ... and often times we see a small hole and panic... but the reality is, until it is fully healed, we don't know if there will be a fistula or not. These 'suture burps' are fairly common. Jessica had something like that -- in fact, some foreign material lodged itself into the opening. When I saw it, I took her immediately to the PS...he removed it, and the hole healed quite nicely. None of my three have any fistulae at all. (YAY)

The three threats that lead to fistulae are 1) blood flow 2) infection and 3) trauma. We have a lot of control over #'s 2 & 3. The rest is up to the doctor and the baby's body's ability to heal.

I'm so glad so many of our little ones are doing so wonderfully great as they heal. I smile big-time every time I read your posts!!!!!

Joanne Green - Director and Founder Wide Smiles
Email me at

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