Single Z-Plasty Versus Double-Opposing Z-Plasty: A Cadaveric Study of Palatal Lengthening

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The double-opposing Z-plasty is an effective method of repairing the cleft palate due to its reorientation of the palatal musculature and lengthening of the soft palate. A technique for lengthening the palate with a single oral Z-plasty has also been described. The authors hypothesize that these 2 techniques have equivalent effects on palate length.


A cadaver study was performed. Ten fresh adult cadaver heads were used.


All palates were divided in the midline. In 5 specimens, a modified double-opposing Z-plasty technique was used; 5 other specimens underwent an oral Z-plasty with a straight-line repair of the nasal mucosa. In both groups, the levator veli palatini muscles were separately dissected and reapproximated with an intravelar veloplasty. The velar length, defined in this study as the distance from the posterior nasal spine to the tip of uvula, was measured before and after the surgical procedure.


The double-opposing Z-plasty produced a mean increase of 1.0 ± 0.6 cm in velar length (P = 0.023). The single Z-plasty repair resulted in a mean gain of 1.1 ± 0.3 cm (P = 0.001). There was no difference in change in palate length between the 2 procedures (P = 0.941), and no difference in the percentage of soft palate lengthening (24% vs 29%, respectively; P = 0.565).


A single oral Z -plasty provides palatal lengthening equivalent to that of a double-opposing Z-plasty procedure.

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