Photographic Measurements Partially Correlate to Nasal Function and Appearance among Adult Cleft Patients

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Unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) affects nasal function and appearance. There is a lack of objective measurements to evaluate these features. This study analyzes whether objective measurements on photographs correlate with nasal function and/or appearance among adults treated for UCLP.


All patients with UCLP born from 1960 to 1987 treated at the Uppsala University Hospital were invited (n = 109). Participation rate was 68% (n = 74); mean follow-up was 35 years. An age-matched control group (n = 61) underwent the same tests. Nostril area, nasal tip deviation angle, and width of the nostril were measured on photographs and were compared with functional tests and with appearance as assessed by self-assessment questionnaire, professional panel, or laymen panel.


The photographically measured nostril area correlated with nasal volume (acoustic rhinometry) among UCLP patients, both cleft side and noncleft side, and controls (0.331, P = 0.005; 0.338, P = 0.004; and 0.420, P < 0.001, respectively). For the patients’ noncleft side and controls, the area correlated inversely with airflow resistance at inspiration (noncleft side: −0.245, P = 0.043; controls: −0.226, P = 0.013). Laymen assessment of nasal appearance correlated with width ratio of the patients (0.27, P = 0.022) and with nasal tip deviation angle and area ratio of the controls (0.26, P = 0.041, and 0.31, P = 0.015, respectively).


Photographic measurements correlate partially with both functional tests of the nose and panel ratings of appearance. No correlation was found with self-assessment of appearance. Evaluation of photographs needs to be combined with patient-reported outcome measures to be a valuable endpoint of nasal appearance.

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