Maxillary gap at 11–13 weeks' gestation: marker of cleft lip and palate

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Abstract

Objective

To describe a new sign of cleft lip and palate (CLP), the maxillary gap, which is visible in the mid-sagittal plane of the fetal face used routinely for measurement of nuchal translucency thickness.

Methods

This was a retrospective study of stored images of the mid-sagittal view of the fetal face at 11–13 weeks' gestation in 86 cases of CLP and 86 normal controls. The images were examined to determine if a maxillary gap was present, in which case its size was measured.

Results

In 37 (43.0%) cases of CLP the defect was isolated and in 49 (57.0%) there were additional fetal defects. In the isolated CLP group, the diagnosis of facial cleft was made in the first trimester in nine (24.3%) cases and in the second trimester in 28 (75.7%). In the group with additional defects, the diagnosis of facial cleft was made in the first trimester in 46 (93.9%) cases and in the second trimester in three (6.1%). A maxillary gap was observed in 96% of cases of CLP with additional defects, in 65% of those with isolated CLP and in 7% of normal fetuses. There was a large gap (>1.5 mm) or complete absence of signals from the maxilla in the midline in 69% of cases of CLP with additional defects, in 35% of those with isolated CLP and in none of the normal controls.

Conclusions

The maxillary gap is a new simple marker of possible CLP, which could increase the detection rate of CLP, especially in isolated cases. Copyright © 2015 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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