Some Modifications of the Furlow Palatoplasty in Wide Clefts—A Preliminary Report

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Objectives:Authors encounter a large percentage of wide cleft palates while operating in a Third World situation. They define the terms wide clefts and unrepairable clefts in terms of measurement. They describe their technique, which they developed to deal with wide clefts. They describe some previously unreported modifications. They also report the velar lengthening obtained.Methods:A total of 77 cases of primary cleft palate repaired with this technique by a single author, during the period May 2006 to February 2009, were selected for the study. These were divided into two groups on the basis of measurements. Group B consisted of all clefts deemed wide or unrepairable. Group A consisted of all other cleft palates. Difference in fistula rate was studied. Velar lengthening was measured in all patients.Observations:Two fistulae occurred in Group B. The overall fistula rate for the series was 2.6%. The series consisted of 44% wide clefts, which included one case of unrepairable cleft. Lengthening in the velum ranged from 20% to 155%. Statistically significant correlations were found between narrow clefts and age group 0 to 1 year (p = .0094) and Veau Group 4 with wide clefts (p = .0194).Conclusions:The Furlow technique as originally described has shortcomings. The authors describe their technique of incorporating the Furlow repair, which enables them to use it as a primary palatoplasty, in a scenario consisting of a large percentage of wide clefts in an older age group, thereby minimizing the fistula rate while increasing palatal length.

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