Adult Quality of Life Post Cleft Palate Repair: A Comparison of Two Techniques

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Background and Purpose:In 1989, the Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal published the first randomized prospective cleft surgery study, comparing the Kriens intravelar veloplasty (IVV) with a non-IVV 2-flap repair. Results in that and follow-up publications yielded no difference between the 2 groups for need for secondary velopharyngeal management. The subjects have now reached adulthood. This study was designed to ask: Is there any difference between the groups in the outcomes that multidisciplinary team care addresses: speech intelligibility, facial growth, breathing while awake and asleep, attainment of education, and long-term socioeconomic status?Methods:Enrollees from the original published study were invited to participate in a survey. Subjects responded to questions about speech therapy and speech satisfaction, additional surgery, breathing patterns, sleep quality/sleep disorder, and dental occlusion. Demographic information, information on education level, profession, and socio-economic status were queried. Student t test and Fisher exact test were used to compare results.Results:Forty-two of the original 200 patients (20 Kriens IVV and 19 non-IVV) chose to participate. Average age at survey was 25 ± 3 years. Analysis yielded no difference between the 2 respondent groups for need for secondary velopharyngeal management. There were no differences in speech outcome and satisfaction (8 questions, 0.30 < P < 0.97), sleep concerns (3 questions, 0.16 < P < 0.39), and dental occlusion (P = 0.69). Equivalent proportions of the 2 groups had been in speech therapy (P = 0.22). There was no difference in education attainment of the 2 groups (P = 0.26).Conclusions:The original randomized prospective trial suggested that there was no difference between the 2 surgery types in need for secondary velopharyngeal management. This long-term survey study on the same group of patients suggests that in young adulthood, the 2 groups have similar outcomes in terms of education, career choice, speech satisfaction, dental occlusion, and sleep disorder.

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