Objective: To assess the skeletal and dental craniofacial proportions of unilateral cleft lip and palate patients who were operated upon using the Malek technique, and compare them with a normal group to highlight the effect of surgical correction on craniofacial development during growth.
Methods: The cleft palate was closed using the Malek technique in a single operation at 3 months for 11 patients (complete closure of lip and palate) and in a two-stage operation for 10 patients (soft palate at 3 months, lip and hard palate at 6 months). Comparisons were made with a normal control group. Angular and linear measurements of anterior and posterior dimensions of the upper and lower compartments of the face were measured in the 7th and 12th years.
Results and conclusion: No significant differences were observed between the two groups of palate technique repair, although significant differences were observed between craniofacial dimensions of normal versus cleft lip and palate patients. At a skeletal level, the maxilla and mandible were retrusive relative to the cranial base in the cleft lip and palate group. In fact, there was a backward rotation of the palatal plane with repercussions on the maxillo-mandibular complex position. Furthermore, the maxilla was shorter than in normal patients, whereas the mandible was normally shaped. The upper incisors were retroclined and they locked the lower incisors in linguoversion. There was a posterior skeletal deficit of the respiratory compartment, compensated by more marked posterior maxillary alveolar growth. Facial growth in cleft lip and palate patients followed the same pattern, but was delayed compared with normal patients.