A Novel Method to Calculate the Volume of Alveolar Cleft Defect Before Surgery

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This study aimed to evaluate a novel subtractive method for the precise calculation of alveolar cleft defect volume before surgery using the three-dimensional imaging software Mimics.


Ten patients (3 female, 7 male, age range 8–12 years) with unilateral alveolar cleft were enrolled in the study. Preoperative helical computed tomography scans were performed for all patients. A new subtractive method was introduced to precisely calculate the alveolar cleft defect volume before surgery with the aid of Mimics. The DICOM data of every patient were processed using the subtractive method. Statistical analyses were performed using Pearson's correlation test and t test.


The mean volume of the alveolar cleft defect was 1811.97 ± 817.90 mm3. The mean time spent to calculate an alveolar cleft defect volume was 60.60 ± 11.67 minutes. The Pearson correlation test (r = 0.38, P = 0.279) indicated a poor correlation between alveolar cleft defect volume and calculation time.


Preoperative knowledge of defect volume is crucial in alveolar cleft repair. Accurate estimation of graft volume in alveolar cleft patients can be performed using this new subtractive method. Compared with previous methods, this new subtractive method is time-saving and suitable for both unilateral and bilateral clefts. Surgeons can use this method to design a surgical plan for each patient before surgery within a short time, and with less cost.

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