Background: Patients with bilateral cleft lip–cleft palate have nasal deformities including reduced nasal tip projection, widened ala base, and a deficient or absent columella. The authors compare the nasal morphology of patients treated with presurgical nasoalveolar molding followed by primary lip/nasal reconstruction with age-matched noncleft controls.
Methods: A longitudinal, retrospective review of 77 nonsyndromic patients with bilateral cleft lip–cleft palate was performed. Nasal tip protrusion, alar base width, alar width, columella length, and columella width were measured at five time points spanning 12.5 years. A one-sample t test was used for statistical comparison to an age-matched noncleft population published by Farkas.
Results: All five measurements demonstrated parallel, proportional growth in the treatment group relative to the noncleft group. The nasal tip protrusion, alar base width, alar width, columella length, and columella width were not statistically different from those of the noncleft, age-matched control group at age 12.5 years. The nasal tip protrusion also showed no difference in length at 7 and 12.5 years. The alar width and alar base width were significantly wider at the first four time points.
Conclusions: This is the first study to describe nasal morphology following nasoalveolar molding and primary surgical repair in patients with bilateral cleft lip–cleft palate through the age of 12.5 years. In this investigation, the authors have shown that patients with bilateral cleft lip–cleft palate treated at their institution with nasoalveolar molding and primary nasal reconstruction, performed at the time of their lip repair, attained nearly normal nasal morphology through 12.5 years of age.