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To evaluate the long-term three-dimensional stability of Le Fort I maxillary osteotomy in patients with unilateral cleft lip and palate (CLP) who had preceding alveolar bone grafting.Analysis of prospectively collected data.University teaching hospital and postgraduate training center.Thirty consecutive patients with unilateral cleft lip and palate, who underwent the procedure between 1990 and 1999, satisfied the inclusion criteria and had complete records. There were 9 males and 21 females, with an age range of 14 to 28 years (mean, 18 years), and follow-up range of 12 to 66 months (mean, 62 months).Cephalometric and study cast analyses using pre- and postoperative records (3, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months). Evaluation of surgical movement and postsurgical change at all above time intervals was carried out to determine stability of surgical maxillary movement in the horizontal and vertical planes and to identify rotational and transverse relapse.Total relapse of surgical movement was 31% in the horizontal plane and 52% in the vertical plane, as well as 30% rotational. Relapse correlated with extent of surgical movement, and most relapse occurred in the first 6 months after surgery. No significant transverse relapse was documented.Alveolar bone grafting prior to osteotomy stabilizes the transverse dimension of the dental arch, but does not improve horizontal, vertical, or rotational relapse, which remains significant. Correlation of relapse with extent of surgical movement does suggest that planned over-correction is a reasonable option.