The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of buccal fat pad (BFP) in the palatoplasty and to investigate the risk factors associated with postoperative palatal fistula formation.
Materials and Methods:
Sixty-five cleft palate patients were enrolled for this study. Clinical data regarding sex, age, type of cleft, surgical technique, the ratio of cleft width, and BFP graft were collected. The ratio of cleft width was measured and calculated using preoperative clinical photographs. In 36 patients, the BFP was harvested and grafted on the cleft palate to prevent palatal fistula formation. The patients were followed up, the incidence of fistula formation was investigated, and the risk factors related with the fistula were evaluated.
Four patients had postoperative palatal fistula and were not BFP grafted during operation. The BFP graft and ratio of cleft width are significant factors in palatal fistula formation (P = .035, .003). There was a significant difference in the ratio of cleft width between the normal and fistula groups (P = .006). In the logistic regression analysis, there was significant association between high ratio of cleft width and palatal fistula formation in the no BFP group (odds ratio; 11.15, P = .036).
The ratio of cleft width and BFP graft was a significant factor in palatal fistula formation. The BFP graft is a reliable procedure to prevent palatal fistula formation and increase the success of palatoplasty.