Validation of a Unilateral Cleft Lip Surgical Outcomes Evaluation Scale for Surgeons and Laypersons

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A standardized evaluation tool is needed for the assessment of surgical outcomes in cleft lip surgery. Current scales for evaluating unilateral cleft lip/nose (UCL/N) aesthetic outcomes are limited in their reliability, ease of use, and application. The Unilateral Cleft Lip Surgical Outcomes Evaluation (UCL SOE) scale measures symmetry of 4 components and sums these for a total score. The purpose of this study was to validate the SOE as a reliable tool for use by both surgeons and laypersons.


Twenty participants (9 surgeons and 12 laypeople) used the SOE to evaluate 25 sets of randomly selected presurgical and postsurgical standardized photographs of UCL/N patients. Interrater reliability for surgeon and laypeople was determined using an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).


Individual surgeons and laypeople both reached an ICC in the "fair to good" range (ICC = 0.42 and 0.59, respectively). Averaging 2 evaluators in the surgeon group improved the ICC to 0.58 and in the laypeople group to 0.74, respectively. Averaging 3 evaluators increased the ICC for surgeons to the "good" range (ICC = 0.71) and the ICC for laypeople to the "very good" range (ICC = 0.82).


Surgeon and layperson raters can reliably use the SOE to assess the aesthetics results after surgical repair of UCL/N, and improved reliability and reproducibility is achieved by averaging the scores of multiple reviewers.

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