Judgment of Nasolabial Esthetics in Cleft Lip and Palate Is Not Influenced by Overall Facial Attractiveness

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine whether judgment of nasolabial esthetics in cleft lip and palate (CLP) is influenced by overall facial attractiveness.

Design:

Experimental study.

Setting:

University of Bern, Switzerland.

Subjects and Methods:

Seventy-two fused images (36 of boys, 36 of girls) were constructed. Each image comprised (1) the nasolabial region of a treated child with complete unilateral CLP (UCLP) and (2) the external facial features, i.e., the face with masked nasolabial region, of a noncleft child. Photographs of the nasolabial region of six boys and six girls with UCLP representing a wide range of esthetic outcomes, i.e., from very good to very poor appearance, were randomly chosen from a sample of 60 consecutively treated patients in whom nasolabial esthetics had been rated in a previous study. Photographs of external facial features of six boys and six girls without UCLP with various esthetics were randomly selected from patients’ files. Eight lay raters evaluated the fused images using a 100-mm visual analogue scale. Method reliability was assessed by reevaluation of fused images after >1 month. A regression model was used to analyze which elements of facial esthetics influenced the perception of nasolabial appearance.

Results:

Method reliability was good. A regression analysis demonstrated that only the appearance of the nasolabial area affected the esthetic scores of fused images (coefficient = -11.44;P<.001; R2 = 0.464). The appearance of the external facial features did not influence perceptions of fused images.

Conclusion:

Cropping facial images for assessment of nasolabial appearance in CLP seems unnecessary. Instead, esthetic evaluation can be performed on images of full faces.

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