Quality of life of children treated for cleft lip and/or palate: a systematic review

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2012 May;65(5):547-57. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2011.11.004. Epub 2011 Nov 25.


Objective: Cleft lip and/or palate (CLP) is the most common congenital craniofacial anomaly. As a first step toward developing a quality of life (QOL) questionnaire for CLP patients, our team conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies that measured child- or proxy-reported outcomes of CLP.

Design: PUBMED, CINAHL, EMBASE and PsycINFO were searched from their inception to July 2010 to identify studies that measured health-related concepts in CLP patients. Abstract and title screening was performed by two screeners. Full texts of all potentially relevant papers were obtained and examined by two reviewers. We identified publications that measured health concepts and categorized them to form a preliminary conceptual framework of CLP QOL issues.

Results: A total of 4594 publications were identified. Twenty-six studies met our inclusion criteria. Research involved CLP patients living in nine countries with sample sizes ranging from 23 to 661. Health concepts were measured using 29 different questionnaires. No patient-reported outcome (PRO) instrument measuring QOL concerns of CLP patients currently exists. CLP-specific health concepts measured to date were categorized into a preliminary conceptual QOL framework with the following categories: physical, psychological and social health.

Conclusions: Our review has helped to identify areas of health that have been well researched using either a patient or proxy patient-reported outcome instrument (e.g., self-concept; behavior) and areas where more research is required.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cleft Lip / psychology*
  • Cleft Lip / surgery
  • Cleft Palate / psychology*
  • Cleft Palate / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult