Should we give routine postoperative intravenous fluids after cleft surgery?

O. Onyekwelu, J. Seaward, V. Beale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: In 2012, the James Lind Alliance, together with the Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, set priorities for unanswered questions in cleft management. One of these priorities included postoperative fluid management. The authors' postoperative regimen does not include intravenous fluids unless the child fails to achieve adequate oral intake by the first evening postoperatively. This audit evaluated whether this is appropriate and safe practice. Methods: All patients undergoing cleft-related surgery by a single surgeon in a single center during August 2011 to August 2012 were included. Patient age, weight, and surgery type were recorded together with fluid requirement, length of stay, and any returns to theater or readmissions. Results: Of the 79 patients included, none required readmission or return to theater, and the mean length of stay was 1.72 days. Nineteen patients (24%) required intravenous fluids, but these tended to be the older children in the group (P value.034). In the youngest patients undergoing primary lip repair, only 1 of 20 required intravenous fluids. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that, especially in the younger patients, omitting intravenous fluids as a postoperative routine is associated with a shorter length of stay without an increased complication rate. The authors advocate early postoperative feeding and the return to physiological fluid balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e18-e22
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2016


  • Cleft surgery
  • Intravenous fluids
  • James lind alliance priority setting partnership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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