“Three-Unit” Muscle Reconstruction in Secondary Cleft Lip Repair

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Secondary deformities are common in people born with unilateral cleft lip and palate. In recent years, more and more attempts and efforts have been directed toward muscle reconstruction. The authors present a new method of orbicularis oris repair in correction of secondary cleft lip deformities.


From April 2009 to April 2013, a total of 28 patients underwent this procedure in the authors’ department and had a follow-up with a minimum length of 1 year. Muscle reconstruction was divided into three units that deal with the nasal floor, white lip, and red lip. Common anatomical pathologies including a deviated columella, blunted alar-facial groove, lack of philtral column, “free border” deficiency, and unapparent vermilion tubercle can be corrected in a single operation.


The average follow-up period was 14.6 months (range, 12 to 24 months). Contractubex gel (Merz Pharma, Frankfurt, Germany) was used to treat prominent or reddish scars in 16 patients. No major complications occurred. All the patients were satisfied with their nasolabial appearance.


“Three-unit” muscle repair was found to be effective and practical in secondary repair. Improved aesthetic and functional results can be achieved with this comprehensive procedure.

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