After the revision of the lip or tongue, the need for active wound care and stretching is mandatory. The reasoning behind these stretching exercises is to help minimize the wound from excessively contracting and tightening as the area heals.
No technique or frequency of stretches has been agreed upon or found to be more or less effective, so you may read or hear of variations on this technique and regiment that is listed below.
Today of procedure (Day 1): Stretch __1___ time
Day 2 and 3: Stretch __7__ times/day
Day 4 – Day 21: Stretch ___4-5___ times/day
If wound site does not look or feel completely healed, at Day 14, continue stretches for one more week. Please see the post revision picture sequence page to see how the wound may heal over the course of 2 weeks.
You will have to try to find the best time to do the stretches for the infant. Stretching between switching breasts, halfway through a bottle OR while changing a diaper are typically the best three options. The stretches should be spaced out evenly through the day.
Refer to the picture of the tongue below to help outline how to do the stretches.
Gently work your finger into the mouth and under the tongue. Push into the center of the diamond until you feel some resistance or give to the tissue. Hold that depth with the finger and that move the finger from the left (Letter A) to the right (Letter B) and back in a pendulum motion. Complete 4 full pendulum swings under the tongue and over the wound site, while contacting the area under the tongue. So to review: under the tongue, A to B then B to A (repeat 3 more times). Do not remove the finger from under the tongue, but instead push the finger back and up towards letter C and hold the tongue in place for 5 seconds. This will complete the tongue stretching.
The lip stretch is somewhat easier to access then the tongue, but may be slightly more sensitive when stretching. Please refer to the photo below for guidance in regard to the lip exercises.
Once the tongue has been stretched, take the index finger and gently place the finger up under the lip into the area of letter A or B. In a windshield washer motion, take the index finger and wipe it under the lip as you touch the wound site. It should feel smooth as you run you finger from side to side. Take the finger from letter A to letter B and back. Repeat this 4 times. To review: finger under the lip and from A to B and B to A, repeat 4 times.
Remove the finger from the mouth and place the infants head in both open palms. Take your thumbs the gently roll the lip up towards the nose and hold this position for 5 seconds. After rolling the lip back, you have completed the stretches.
Once you are comfortable with the stretches, it will take roughly 20-30 seconds to complete a full set of stretching.