Palate morphology after unilateral and bilateral cleft lip and palate closure.Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2006 Jan; 35(1):25-30.IJ
The aim of the present study was to compare the morphology of the hard palate of patients with uni- and bilateral cleft lip and palate after palatoplasty using vomer and palatal pedicled flaps with the palatal morphology of non-cleft individuals. Eighty patients were enrolled into this retrospective study: 40 patients with cleft lip and palate (30 unilateral, 10 bilateral) and 40 non-cleft patients with class I occlusion, who served as controls. Analysis of the development of the maxillary arch and evaluation of palatal morphology were accomplished from reformatted CT scans from plaster casts of the maxilla at the age of 4, 10 and 15 years (cleft patients) and 10 years (controls). Width and symmetry of the maxillary arch and morphology of the hard palate were assessed in the canine and molar region and compared both among the cleft groups and the controls. Maxillary arch width as assessed from plaster casts did not differ significantly between uni- and bilateral cleft patients and was not significantly different from controls at the age of 10. Deviation from symmetry was present in both types of cleft and significant in unilateral clefts when compared to bilateral clefts and non-cleft patients. Palatal morphology did not differ significantly between uni- and bilateral clefts until the age of 15, but was significantly different from control patients in the molar area at the age of 10 presumably due to the medial shift of soft tissue flaps used for palatoplasty. It is concluded that palatoplasty significantly alters hard palate morphology particularly in the posterior area. The relevance of this alteration for speech and articulation remains to be explored.