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Golisano Children's Hospital / Cleft and Craniofacial Center / Resources / Speech Surgery - Postoperative Instructions


Speech Surgery - Postoperative Instructions


  • For a week or two after surgery, your child may need extra attention and understanding. Don’t worry about “spoiling” your child during this time. It is OK to respond to your child’s need for extra holding and comforting.
  • After surgery, your child will be sleepy for several hours. Your child will have an IV in place for giving fluids and pain medicines. You may see a little bloody drainage around the lips and nose. You may see absorbable stitches inside the mouth or back of throat.


  • Your child’s palate or throat is repaired with absorbable sutures, but the repair is delicate for several months after surgery.
  • Day of surgery and 1 day after: clear liquids. Examples include water, apple juice, jello, popsicles (taken off the stick), or clear broth.
  • Days 2-3: full liquids. Examples include milk, yogurt, cooked cereals, puddings, ice cream, creamed soups, thinned pureed foods
  • Day 4-6 weeks: soft foods. Examples include mashed potatoes, cereal soaked in milk, cooked vegetables, finely ground meats, well cooked pasta, and bananas. Anything that can be easily squished between two fingers should be safe to eat.
  • No hard candy, toast, potato chips, bread sticks, pretzels, or any other sharp or hard foods for 6 weeks.


  • It is common for children to breathe deeply and snore for several weeks after surgery due to swelling in the throat. This typically resolves by 6 weeks after surgery. A cool humidifier or vaporizer in the bedroom may be helpful. 
  • However, some breathing patterns are abnormal. You should call Dr. Morrison if your child has periods of not breathing while sleeping, or has trouble breathing or periods of excess sleepiness during the day.  


  • Most children are ready to return to school in about a week. If you have concerns or questions about when your child can return, discuss with Dr. Morrison.
  • No gym, sports, or heavily active play for 6 weeks after surgery.

Speech Therapy

  • Speech therapy should resume soon after surgery. Please check with our speech pathologist regarding timing of therapy.


  • Your child may have some mild discomfort at home. Give acetaminophen (Tylenol®), as directed by your child’s doctor. Acetaminophen comes as a tablet, caplet, and liquid. It is used to relieve mild to moderate pain and to reduce fever. It is important to take acetaminophen exactly as directed by your doctor. Follow the directions on the package and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Do not take more or less of it than prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it any more often than prescribed by your doctor.
  • If your child has more than mild discomfort, the doctor may prescribe medicine to help ease the pain. Give pain medicine as prescribed and instructed by your doctor and nurse.
  • Try to schedule a dose of pain medicine around bedtime, especially for the first few days at home. This will help your child sleep better.


  • Keep track of your child’s bowel habits. He or she should return to previous bowel habits. If not, he or she may be constipated.
  • Call your child’s pediatrician or Dr. Morrison if you think your child is constipated.
  • Skin and Wound Care
  • The incision in the mouth is closed with absorbable sutures that will fall out over the next month or so.
  • You should ask your child to rinse their mouth out with water after each meal to clean the area of food debris. Your child will also have a medicated mouthwash to use for 7 days after surgery 3 times a day.
  • It is OK to gently brush the teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush.


  • Please make a clinic appointment for 1-2 weeks after surgery.
  • After this visit, you will likely be seen again in about 2 months.
  • A repeat speech evaluation with our team speech pathologist should occur 3-6 months post surgery
  • When to call your child’s doctor or nurse
    • If your child:
    • has redness, increased swelling, drainage, or bleeding from the lip incision
    • has separation of the suture line
    • has a fever higher than 101.5°F degrees (taken under the arm)
    • has pain that doesn't get better after pain medicine is given
    • is not drinking liquids or is vomiting
    • has trouble breathing

If you have any questions or concerns, call the office at (585)-275-1000 and someone will assist you.