Development of the residual cleft in the hard palate after velar repair in a 2-stage palatal repair regimen.J Orofac Orthop. 1998; 59(5):286-300.JO
Delayed closure of the hard palate is believed to improve maxillary growth and facial appearance in cleft lip and palate patients. However, the cleft opening in the hard palate after velar closure might impair speech development. The aim of this investigation was to study the development of the residual cleft in the hard palate after 2-stage palatal repair (TSPR) in children born with complete cleft lip and palate (bilateral [BCLP]; n = 7 or unilateral [UCLP]; n = 22) or isolated cleft palate (CP; n = 9). Moreover, we aimed to investigate whether any morphologic factors before surgery might predict development of the residual cleft. Dental casts obtained prior to velar repair (mean age 7 months) and postoperatively at 1 1/2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 years were analyzed with a Reflex Microscope regarding the width, length and area of the cleft in the hard palate. The palatal cleft varied in size both pre- and postoperatively in all 3 types of cleft patients. The width of the cleft in the UCLP subgroup showed a marked reduction immediately after velar repair, but then, on average, remained stable until final surgical closure of the hard palate. In the BCLP subgroup the initially rather narrow width of the clefts remained unchanged postoperatively. Clefts in the CP subgroup, especially in those with a complete cleft, remained large after veloplasty. In 4 of the UCLP and 2 of the BCLP patients, the cleft width increased gradually. In some other subjects, both in the UCLP and BCLP subgroups, the residual cleft closed functionally with time, but this development could not be foreseen.