Longitudinal Photogrammetric Analysis of the Columellar-Labial Angle following Primary Repair of Bilateral Cleft Lip and Nasal Deformity

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Abstract

Background:

The changing nasolabial dimensions after repair of bilateral cleft lip and nasal deformity can be documented by anthropometry; however, the columellar-labial angle is rarely measured.

Methods:

This is a study of white patients who had synchronous repair of bilateral cleft lip performed by one surgeon (J.B.M.). The columellar-labial angle was measured on lateral photographs with the subject in neutral head position. Average values for columellar-labial angle at two or more time points were analyzed with a general estimating equation and cubic modeling. Values for complete and incomplete bilateral cleft lips were compared to each other and to Farkas’ norms. Direct anthropometric measurements of intraoperative columellar length were compared to the postoperative columellar-labial angle using Pearson correlation analysis.

Results:

Eighty-five patients were studied (64 complete and 21 incomplete clefts). The average photographic follow-up interval was 10 years (range, 1.8 to 19.5 years). The columellar-labial angle in bilateral complete clefts was significantly greater than in incomplete forms (p = 0.002). Although the angles decreased with time, they remained significantly greater than Farkas’ normative values in both cleft groups (all p < 0.05). There was no correlation between the magnitude of columellar lengthening achieved during primary nasal correction and the postoperative columellar-labial angle.

Conclusions:

An obtuse columellar-labial angle can occur following synchronous nasolabial repair of a bilateral cleft lip, particularly in patients with a complete deformity. Although the angle narrows in time, it remains 1 to 2 SD greater than normal values. Secondary nasal correction may be needed if there is excessive tip rotation after completion of growth and orthognathic surgery.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, IV.

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