Scandcleft randomised trials of primary surgery for unilateral cleft lip and palate: 10. Parental perceptions of appearance and treatment outcomes in their 5-year-old child.J Plast Surg Hand Surg. 2017 Feb; 51(1):81-87.JP
BACKGROUND AND AIM
Few studies have explored children's emotional and behavioural reactions to cleft surgery and treatment-related stress. The objective was to investigate parents' evaluations of appearance and treatment outcomes in their 5-year-old child with unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP), and their perceptions of how their child was coping with treatment, comparing this information with recorded postsurgical complications.
Three parallel group randomised clinical trials were undertaken as an international multicentre study by 10 cleft teams in five countries: Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the UK.
Three different surgical procedures for primary palatal repair were tested against a common procedure in the total cohort of 448 children born with a non-syndromic UCLP. A total of 356 parents completed the Scandcleft Parent Questionnaire, and 346 parents completed the Cleft Evaluation Profile.
The results indicated that the majority of parents were satisfied with cleft-related features of their child's appearance. Further, most children coped well with treatment according to their parents. Nevertheless, 17.5% of the children showed minor or short-term reactions after treatment experiences, and 2% had major or lasting difficulties. There were no significant relationships between parent perceptions of treatment-related problems and the occurrence of post-surgical medical complications.
Most parents reported satisfaction with their child's appearance. However, treatment-related problems were described in some children, urging cleft centres to be aware of potential negative emotional and behavioural reactions to treatment in some young children, with a view to preventing the development of more severe treatment-related anxiety.