The accuracy of prenatal ultrasound in determining the type of orofacial cleft

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ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of prenatal transabdominal ultrasound in determining the oral cleft type.MethodsA retrospective cohort study was performed on all consecutive cases of orofacial cleft diagnosed by prenatal ultrasound examination in the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, a tertiary referral hospital, between January 2002 and December 2012. Prenatal findings were compared with postnatal diagnoses.ResultsA total of 134 patients were included. The mean gestational age at ultrasound examination was 24 weeks + 5 days. Prenatal diagnosis was in accordance with postnatal findings in 76.9% of the cases (103/134) with regard to the cleft type. Underestimation of the cleft occurred in 19.4% (26/134), whereas in 3.7% (5/134), the extent was overestimated. In distinguishing bilateral from unilateral clefts, no errors were made.ConclusionPrenatal ultrasound is accurate in assessing the types of orofacial clefts in a large majority of the cases and is completely accurate in distinguishing between unilateral and bilateral clefts. This study indicates that it is a reliable technique to assess the cleft type, which is important for counseling future parents. Although, the clinician should be aware of the fact that a cleft palate is easily missed, and subsequently, underestimation of cleft extend is frequent.

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