Background and aim: This study presents the institutional experience of the use of vomer flap for early closure of hard palate during unilateral complete cleft-lip repair. The purpose of this study was to determine the survival rate of the vomer flap and to investigate its effect on the subsequent palatoplasty.
Patients and methods: This retrospective analysis includes 101 non-syndromic patients with complete unilateral cleft lip who received a vomer flap for the closure of the hard palate during cleft-lip repair. Patients were aged 6 months to 28 years (median 1 year). Success rates of the vomer flaps were assessed clinically and through pre-operative photographs taken at the time of subsequent palate repair. Ninety-two patients returned for second-stage palate repair, and 74 patients with adequate post-operative follow-up information were statistically analysed.
Results: Of the 101 patients who were operated with primary lip repair and simultaneous vomer flap, only 54 (52.4%) vomer flaps healed completely. Out of 92 patients who returned for subsequent palatoplasty, 71 (77.2%) were operated with the two-flap technique, and 19 (20.7%) received von Langenbeck repairs. Seven (9.1%) patients had a surgical complication. The failure of previous vomer repair and von Langenbeck surgical technique were identified as factors associated with post-operative complications.
Conclusions: We conclude that failed vomer flaps increased the risks of complications in the subsequent palate repair. Furthermore, efforts to use von Langenbeck technique rather than the two-flap technique also resulted in increased surgical complications. As a result, we have abandoned the use of the vomer flap with primary lip repair.
Keywords: Early hard palate closure; Fistula; Maxillary growth; Vomer flap.
Copyright © 2015 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.