Author(s): Dec W, Shetye PR, Grayson BH, Brecht LE, Cutting CB,
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Abstract The incidence of postoperative complications in cleft care is low. In this 19-year retrospective analysis of cleft lip and palate patients treated with preoperative nasoalveolar molding, we examine the incidence of postoperative oronasal fistulae. The charts of 178 patients who underwent preoperative nasoalveolar molding by the same orthodontist/prosthodontist team and primary cleft lip/palate repair by the same surgeon over a 19-year period were reviewed. Millard, Mohler, Cutting, or Mulliken-type techniques were used for cleft lip repairs. Oxford-, Bardach-, or von Langenbeck-type techniques were used for cleft palate repairs. One nasolabial fistula occurred after primary cleft lip repair (0.56\% incidence) and was repaired surgically. Four palatal fistulae (3 at the junction between soft and hard palate and 1 at the right anterior palate near the incisive foramen) occurred, but 3 healed spontaneously. Only 1 palatal fistula (0.71\%) required surgical repair. All 5 fistulae occurred within the first 8 years of the study period, with 4 (80\%) of 5 occurring within the first 3 years. Although fistula rate may be related to surgeon experience and the evolution of presurgical techniques, nasoalveolar molding in conjunction with nasal floor closure contributes to a low incidence of oronasal fistulae.
This article was published in J Craniofac Surg
and referenced in Journal of Surgery