Presurgical nasoalveolar molding (PNAM) is controversial in maxillofacial orthopedics. It supposedly improves the nasal esthetics and function in unilateral cleft lip/palate (UCLP) patients. However, there is no research available in South America to support this claim. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of presurgical nasoalveolar molding therapy on morphological changes of the noses of unilateral cleft lip/palate patients in a Colombian sample.
Seventeen neonate UCLP patients using PNAM received facial impressions at the beginning of treatment; before primary rhinocheiloplasty; and before palatoplasty. A submentovertex photograph of each cast was taken and analyzed by digital photogrammetry. Wilcoxon and Friedman tests were used for within- and between-group comparisons.
A statistically significant reduction of cleft nostril width, without significant changes in noncleft nostril width or total nasal width, was found after PNAM. A significant increase in cleft and noncleft nostril height, plus a nonsignificant increase in nostril area in both sides and a nonsignificant uprighting of the columella were found. These changes were maintained or further improved after rhinocheiloplasty.
The presurgical nasoalveolar molding technique improved nasal tip projection and alar cartilage depression and decreased partially columella deviation before rhinocheiloplasty in South American unilateral cleft lip/palate patients.