Background: In a 25-year retrospective review of 1976-2000, the postoperative course after cleft palate surgery and pharyngeal flap surgery in 87 children with Pierre Robin sequence was studied.
Patients and methods: The study comprised 114 interventions with 87 primary palatoplasties; 17 patients required palatal fistulae repair and 10 children were treated with secondary pharyngoplasty procedures. All children were divided into three postnatal risk groups according to the severity of their symptoms at birth and in the course of the early months of life.
Results: A direct correlation was seen between the incidence of early postnatal difficulties and the postoperative obstructive complications after cleft palate surgery and pharyngeal flap surgery. Thus, children experiencing obstructive problems at birth (high postnatal risk group) displayed more severe complications at the time after cleft palate repair. In children undergoing pharyngeal flap surgery not only early postoperative obstruction but also late obstructive sleep apnea can occur.