The Americleft Project: A Modification of Asher-McDade Method for Rating Nasolabial Esthetics in Patients With Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate Using Q-sort

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The purpose of this study was to investigate ways to improve rater reliability and satisfaction in nasolabial esthetic evaluations of patients with complete unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP), by modifying the Asher-McDade method with use of Q-sort methodology. Blinded ratings of cropped photographs of one hundred forty-nine 5- to 7-year-old consecutively treated patients with complete UCLP from 4 different centers were used in a rating of frontal and profile nasolabial esthetic outcomes by 6 judges involved in the Americleft Project's intercenter outcome comparisons. Four judges rated in previous studies using the original Asher-McDade approach. For the Q-sort modification, rather than projection of images, each judge had cards with frontal and profile photographs of each patient and rated them on a scale of 1 to 5 for vermillion border, nasolabial frontal, and profile, using the Q-sort method with placement of cards into categories 1 to 5. Inter- and intrarater reliabilities were calculated using the Weighted Kappa (95% confidence interval). For 4 raters, the reliabilities were compared with those in previous studies. There was no significant improvement in inter-rater reliabilities using the new method. Intrarater reliability consistently improved. All raters preferred the Q-sort method with rating cards rather than a PowerPoint of photos, which improved internal consistency in rating compared to previous studies using the original Asher-McDade method. All raters preferred this method because of the ability to continuously compare photos and adjust relative ratings between patients.

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