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Clefts involving the alveolus are treated using one of two strategies: primary periosteoplasty at the time of lip repair or secondary alveolar bone grafting at mixed dentition. Most teams favor secondary alveolar bone grafting because of its high success rate, and concerns have been raised that primary periosteoplasty may interfere with maxillary growth. However, primary periosteoplasty may obviate the need for future bone grafting and is still practiced in some centers. Few studies compare the long-term outcomes of these two strategies.Fifty-seven consecutive patients born with unilateral cleft lip and alveolus were studied retrospectively. All patients underwent primary lip repair using Skoog’s method; 28 patients underwent primary periosteoplasty at the time of lip repair and the remaining 29 underwent secondary alveolar bone grafting at mixed dentition. Occlusal radiographs obtained at ages 10 and 16 years were analyzed for alveolar bone height. Cephalometric analysis assessed growth at ages 5, 10, and 18 years.Seventeen of 28 patients treated using primary periosteoplasty required later secondary bone grafting, and the bone height at age 16 years was lower in the primary periosteoplasty group (p < 0.0001). There was a more pronounced decrease in maxillary protrusion from ages 5 to 10 years in the primary periosteoplasty group (p < 0.03). However, at age 18 there was no significant difference in maxillary growth between the two groups.Primary periosteoplasty did not seem to inhibit long-term maxillary growth but was ineffective as a method of reconstructing the alveolar cleft.Therapeutic, III.