Background: The nasal deformity that accompanies cleft conditions is often acknowledged as the most difficult obstacle to restoring facial balance in affected children. Despite considerable progress in the treatment of cleft lip and palate, the outcomes of cleft septorhinoplasty have proven variable and difficult to predict, possibly because of incomplete understanding of the underlying anatomical deformities. The authors sought to characterize unilateral cleft septal and dorsal deformities through a detailed morphologic model based on photogrammetric, qualitative, and quantitative computerized tomographic image analysis.
Methods: Twenty-five consecutive patients with a unilateral cleft nasal deformity without prior septorhinoplasty were included.
Results: Dorsal angulation, as measured by the nasal dorsal angle, consistently deviated away from the cleft side at a mean angle of 8.9 degrees. In a majority of patients, the septal deformity was complex and consistent in the anterior and middle regions of the airspace, but variable in the posterior region. Finally, discrete sites of potential nasal obstruction were noted in the anterior, middle, and posterior regions along the acoustic axis. Considerable variation was seen in the anterior and posterior regions, with potential obstructions variably on both the cleft and noncleft sides.
Conclusion: The authors' results underscore the importance of subject-specific analysis in cleft septorhinoplasty to address multiple potential sites of nasal obstruction.