Pearls for Aesthetic Reconstruction of Cleft Lip and Nose Defects

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Mastery of the anatomy and embryology of the normal and cleft upper lip, primary palate, and secondary palate is an essential foundation for grasping techniques in aesthetic reconstruction of cleft lip defects. The surgical goals in repairing cleft lip deformities are to address the deficiencies of the cleft lip defect, restore static and dynamic anatomy, reshape the cleft nasal deformity, and leave a natural-appearing scar that mimics the contours of the philtral components. An additional goal is to improve skeletal alignment and retention of teeth in the vicinity of the alveolar cleft. There are advantages and disadvantages inherit in all repair techniques. However, there are principles that can be universally applied and that will improve the success of most approaches. Certain steps deserve special attention to detail, which provide for enhanced results in lip repair. In addition, the pearls for aesthetic reconstruction of cleft lip and nose defects outlined within this article-attention to scars and surface detail, utilizing the orthopedic forces of the orbicularis pull to achieve improved alveolar alignment, the importance of mucosal detail, and attention to the cleft nasal defect-will help to improve results and reduce secondary defects.

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