Depends. A cleft palate repair is designed to close the cleft and re-orient the soft palate muscles to allow for normal speech development. Ideally, this is accomplished with one surgery. Around 20% of children with cleft palates will need a second surgery to improve nasal speech when they are 4-5 years old. Depending on the severity and whether the gums are involved, bone surgery may be needed later.
Multiple repairs. Each cleft palate is unique. Your team of specialists will review the very best plan for your baby. Initially, the team will focus on repairing the palate and lip so that your baby can easily feed. Afterwards, future surgeries may be focused on getting the best possible repair. Often several years and some braces are needed before final repairs can be completed.
Surgery. If the lip is normal then the surgery is scheduled at about a year of age or sooner. It involves surgery on the soft tissue of the roof of the mouth and the bone, it can take about 1-2 hours. There will be some temporary feeding issues after surgery.