The Progressive Changes of Nasal Symmetry and Growth after Nasoalveolar Molding: A Three-Year Follow-Up Study

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The purpose of this study was to assess the progressive changes of nasal symmetry, growth, and relapse after presurgical nasoalveolar molding and primary cheiloplasty in unilateral complete cleft lip/palate infants. Twenty-five consecutive complete unilateral cleft lip/palate infants were included. All the infants underwent nasoalveolar molding before primary cheiloplasty. Standard 1:1 ratio basilar photographs were taken before and after nasoalveolar molding, 1 week after cheiloplasty, and yearly for 3 years. Linear measurements were made directly on the photographs. The results of this study revealed that the nasal asymmetry was significantly improved after nasoalveolar molding and was further corrected to symmetry after primary cheiloplasty. After the primary cheiloplasty, the nasal asymmetry significantly relapsed in the first year postoperatively and then remained stable and well afterward. The relapse was the result of a significant differential growth between the cleft and noncleft sides in the first year postoperatively. To compensate for relapse and differential growth, the authors recommend (1) narrowing down the alveolar cleft as well as possible by nasoalveolar molding, (2) overcorrecting the nasal vertical dimension surgically, and (3) maintaining the surgical results using a nasal conformer.

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