Arm Splints are used immediately after and in the nominated weeks following lip or palate repair to protect the healing face by preventing the patient from touching their face and mouth.
Arm splints may help prevent the tissue from tearing, infections and uneven scarring which could lead to further surgeries or complications.
Arm Splints are required for up to 6 weeks after surgery.
A snug fit is required to ensure splints don’t slide off the arm or bump your child’s face. At the same time, splints must not be too tight to cause discomfort to your child. For this reason they are made to measure in the weeks leading up to your surgery date. The splints are hand-made in soft fabric and attractive designs, and each splint is secured around the arm with Velcro. The splints can be worn over clothing or under loose clothing against the skin.
Each hospital has different protocols in relation to the supplying of arm splints so please check when surgery is booked. If the hospital does not supply arm splints, you will need to order them from CleftPALS Qld directly. To ensure the best fit, you should order your child’s splints approximately two weeks before the surgery date.
Please check with your child’s health team to determine what equipment you need to provide for post op care.
In some cases, your child’s surgery may be delayed if you don’t have the necessary equipment for post-op surgery feeding – including the arm splints.
Practicing with Arm Splints
As with all post-operative feeding items, it will help if you trial the splints prior to your child’s surgery. Start with fitting one of the splints on one arm for about half an hour and then do the same later in the day with your child’s other arm. Gradually increase the length of time your child wears the splint and then try with both splints on. Use the splints at different times of the day, for example at play, rest and feeding time. This way, both you and your baby can become used to the splints prior to surgery. After surgery, it is important to use the arm splints all of the time. You can give your child a short break, one arm at a time while holding their hand for around 10 – 15 minutes here and there e.g. a good time is after each feed. Please note it only takes a moment for that hand to connect to the mouth and cause trauma to the area.
During this period, choose softer toys and comfort your baby with plenty of cuddles. Your child will benefit enormously from your commitment to this important part of their post op care.
Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that your baby is well equipped for their surgery.
Measuring for Arm Splints
Measure your child for arm splints two weeks before surgery
To measure your child for arm splints, you will need a tape measure or paper tape to take two measurements of your child’s arm.