The cleft lateral lip element: do traditional markings result in secondary deformities?Ann Plast Surg 2003; 50(6):594-600AP
In cleft surgery, two methods have traditionally been used to mark the height of cupid's bow on the lateral lip element. One technique measures the distance from the oral commissure to the height of cupid's bow on the noncleft side, and transposes this distance onto the cleft-side lateral lip element. The second technique marks the height of cupid's bow on the cleft-side lateral lip element where the white roll disappears. The authors believe these techniques may result in deformities of residual cleft tissue in the repair. Marking the height of cupid's bow on the cleft-side lateral lip element, just before the attenuation of lip fullness, can prevent this deformity. A retrospective study yielded a series of 17 patients with secondary deformities of residual cleft tissue in their repair. The method used to mark the lateral lip element was determined by chart review. Patients then underwent secondary surgery with excision of residual cleft tissue, and repair using the initial technique. A random group of primary cleft patients, repaired using the authors' technique for marking the lateral lip element, was likewise evaluated for the presence of residual cleft tissue in the repair. Of the 17 cases of secondary deformities, 14 were unilateral and 3 were bilateral. Among the unilateral cases, seven were repaired with a triangular flap and seven by rotation advancement. The bilateral cases were repaired using the modified Millard technique. The lateral lip element was marked using cessation of the white roll in 8 patients, and the commissure to the height the of cupid's bow in 2 patients, whereas in 7 patients the method was unreported. Using the authors' technique, both "controls" repaired primarily and cases repaired secondarily resulted in no redundant cleft tissue. Average follow-up was 11 months (range, 1-41 months). The authors think that traditional markings for establishing the height of cupid's bow on the cleft lateral lip element may result in residual cleft tissue in the repair. This deformity can be prevented by marking the height of cupid's bow on the cleft lateral lip element just before the attenuation of lip fullness.