Nasoalveolar Molding Therapy for the Treatment of Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate Improves Nasal Symmetry and Maxillary Alveolar Dimensions

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The aim of this study is to assess the esthetic and morphologic outcomes before surgery using nasoalveolar molding (NAM) therapy in children with unilateral cleft lip and palate.


A prospective analysis was performed.


The study was carried out in the Congenital Malformations Craniofacial and Cleft Lip and Palate Unit, Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Andalusian Health Service, Granada (Spain).


Twenty consecutively enrolled infants ranging in age from 7 to 30 days with nonsyndromic unilateral cleft lip and palate treated from 2008 to 2012.


All patients were treated with NAM appliances to align the alveolar segments and reduce severity of the nasal deformity.

Main Outcome Measure:

The extraoral nasal measurements were performed on casts and nasal photographs. The measurements consisted of bialar width (BAW), columellar deviation (CD), cleft nostril height (CNH), cleft nostril width (CNW), non-CNH, non-CNW, and the deviation of the columella to the horizontal line represented by bilateral pupil line (BIA). The authors have made the measurements following Barilla method. Also 2 intraoral measurements were taken.


Following NAM the extraoral records showed a statistically significant decrease in CD (P < 0.0001), CNW (P < 0.0001), and BAW (P < 0.001). Furthermore, statistically significant increases in CNH (P < 0.05) and BIA (P < 0.0001) were observed.


Following Barilla measurements, the authors have found a high percentage of symmetry in all the nasal measurements after the NAM therapy.


Intraoral results showed a statistically significant decrease in the gap between the greater and lesser alveolar segments and a statistically significant increase in maxillary arch width.


Nasoalveolar molding improves nasal symmetry and achieves an improvement of all maxillary alveolar dimensions, increasing alveolar rim width, reducing the size of alveolar cleft gap, and improving shape of the maxillary dental arch. As a consequence of reducing the alveolar and nasal deformities before surgery, it is expected that the primary repair will be easier for the surgeon and more successful.

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