Herpes simplex virus (HSV) primary infection and reactivation has been associated with the inflammation and transient decrease in immunocompetence after surgery and local trauma. In addition, HSV infection is known to impair wound healing, increase risk of scarring, and impede connective tissue graft transplantation. To our knowledge, this is the first case of HSV infection complicating cleft palate repair presented in literature. In this report, we present a case of primary HSV infection occurring in a healthy 26-month-old patient after repair of the secondary cleft palate with mucoperichondrial flaps and V-Y pushback. The patient developed high fever on postoperative day 1, which was followed by perioral vesicular lesions and multiple intraoral ulcerations involving the lips, palate, and posterior pharynx. Unknown to the surgeons, the patient was exposed to HSV before surgery by a sibling with orolabial HSV infection. The infective cause was ascertained via polymerase chain reaction for HSV-1 DNA, and the infection was treated with topical and intravenous acyclovir for 1 week. The patient recovered well with adequate flap healing, good aesthetic outcome, and no complications on 1-month follow-up. This report underscores the importance of prompt recognition of herpetic infections in the patient with craniofacial surgery and reviews the association and complications of HSV infection in surgical healing. Early identification with prompt antiviral therapy and meticulous wound care are essential to ameliorate the scarring and delayed wound healing associated with HSV infection.
From the *Department of Plastic Surgery, University of California Irvine, Orange, CA; and †Department of Surgery, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Long Beach, CA.
Received July 8, 2014, and accepted for publication, after revision, December 26, 2014.
Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.
Reprints: Maristella S. Evangelista, MD, MBA, Department of Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery, University of California Irvine, 200 S Manchester Ave, Suite 650, Orange, CA 92868. E-mail: email@example.com.