Assessment of Presurgical Clefts and Predicted Surgical Outcome in Patients Treated With and Without Nasoalveolar Molding

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Abstract

Obtaining an esthetic and functional primary surgical repair in patients with complete cleft lip and palate (CLP) can be challenging because of tissue deficiencies and alveolar ridge displacement. This study aimed to describe surgeons’ assessments of presurgical deformity and predicted surgical outcomes in patients with complete unilateral and bilateral CLP (UCLP and BCLP, respectively) treated with and without nasoalveolar molding (NAM). Cleft surgeon members of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association completed online surveys to evaluate 20 presurgical photograph sets (frontal and basal views) of patients with UCLP (n = 10) and BCLP (n = 10) for severity of cleft deformity, quality of predicted surgical outcome, and likelihood of early surgical revision. Five patients in each group (UCLP and BCLP) received NAM, and 5 patients did not receive NAM. Surgeons were masked to patient group. Twenty-four percent (176/731) of surgeons with valid e-mail addresses responded to the survey. For patients with UCLP, surgeons reported that, for NAM-prepared patients, 53.3% had minimum severity clefts, 58.9% were anticipated to be among their best surgical outcomes, and 82.9% were unlikely to need revision surgery. For patients with BCLP, these percentages were 29.8%, 38.6%, and 59.9%, respectively. Comparing NAM-prepared with non–NAM-prepared patients showed statistically significant differences (P < 0.001), favoring NAM-prepared patients. This study suggests that cleft surgeons assess NAM-prepared patients as more likely to have less severe clefts, to be among the best of their surgical outcomes, and to be less likely to need revision surgery when compared with patients not prepared with NAM.

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