The efficacy of vomer flap for closure of hard palate during primary lip repair

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2015 Jul;68(7):940-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2015.03.034. Epub 2015 Apr 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cleft Lip / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lip / surgery*
  • Male
  • Maxilla / growth & development
  • Palate, Hard / surgery*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vomer / transplantation*
  • Young Adult