Unilateral complete cleft lip repair: orthotopic positioning of skin flaps.Br J Plast Surg 2005; 58(2):147-52BJ
The ideally repaired cleft lip should provide a symmetrical Cupid's bow, philtrum, and minimal scar. In the appearance of the upper lip, the philtrum plays a key role. The most popular method for unilateral cleft lip repair is the rotation-advancement technique introduced by Millard. This technique requires the rotation of the noncleft side flap in unilateral cleft lip. As the vertical discrepancy between the peaks of Cupid's bow is increased, the scarring becomes more evident. Also, where it crosses the philtral column in the oblique extension of the upper lip, it becomes apparent for the eye to notice. Thus, many surgeons have tried to modify this technique to improve the symmetry of the philtral columns. The philtral dimple is composed of centrally located thin dense subcutaneous tissue bordered by thick loose subcutaneous tissue producing the philtral columns laterally. The aim of this surgical modification is to form a more natural looking philtrum using its original anatomical structure. The tissue defect after rotation of the noncleft side flap is filled with the C flap, not the advancement skin flap from the cleft side. The C flap helps to form the upper philtral column into a more straight appearance. The skin flaps of the cleft side and noncleft side are placed either side of the philtral column, and the skin flap from the columella is not used for the repair of the philtrum. Twenty-five patients with unilateral complete cleft lip were repaired using this technique from 1996 to 1999. Adequate alignment of the Cupid's bow and symmetric philtral appearance were obtainable.