In 1985 this cleft team, dissatisfied with the treatment and results from cleft lip and palate repair, began a longitudinal long-term study using dynamic maxillary orthopedics and periosteoplasty as was originally described by Drs Millard and Latham. All cases were carefully documented through adolescence, including clinical assessments, orthodontic, radiographic, and cephalometric analyses. In 1998, in this journal, we published our data on 35 complete unilateral and 10 complete bilateral cleft patients. At that time facial growth was following normal cephalometric patterns. Crossbites were dental and treated with orthodontics. There was radiologic evidence of bone within the alveolus with elimination of the oronasal fistula, and facial aesthetics revealed soft faded scars and balanced noses.
That publication was a preliminary study with the intent to provide long-term results when full facial growth was achieved. This article reports on 25 patients from the initial cohort (20 unilateral and 5 bilateral) that we were able to closely follow up for 25 years, with the same clinical team, making it the longest study of its kind.
At this stage, data revealed continued growth of the midface both vertically and horizontally. Secondary alveolar cleft bone grafting when required was in small aliquots placed into well-healed tissue, and orthodontic movement of teeth was through a consolidated alveolus. Orthognathic procedures were performed in 2 of 5 bilateral and 0 of 20 unilateral cases.
We concluded that in this cohort, dynamic maxillary orthopedics and periosteoplasty, despite controversy in the literature, did not negatively impact facial growth and provided the benefit of early structural normalization and social integration by consolidation of the maxilla, closure of the oronasal fistula, tension free closure of the lip, and by balancing the nose.