Objective: To identify child-, surgeon-, and hospital-specific factors at the time of primary cleft lip repair that are associated with the use of secondary cleft lip surgery.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Forty-nine pediatric hospitals.
Participants: Children who underwent cleft lip repair between 1999 and 2015.
Main outcome measure: Time from primary cleft lip repair to secondary lip surgery.
Results: By 5 years after primary lip repair, 24.0% of children had undergone a secondary lip surgery. In multivariable analysis, primary lip repair before 3 months had a 1.22-fold increased hazard of secondary surgery (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02-1.46) compared to repair at 7 to 12 months of age, and children with multiple congenital anomalies had a 0.77-fold decreased hazard of secondary surgery (95% CI: 0.68-0.87). After adjusting for cleft type, age at repair, presence of multiple congenital anomalies, and procedure volume, there remained substantial variation in secondary surgery use among surgeons and hospitals (P < .01). For children with unilateral cleft lip repaired at 3 to 6 months of age, the predicted proportion of children undergoing secondary surgery within 5 years of primary repair ranged from 4.9% to 21.8% across surgeons and from 4.5% to 24.7% across hospitals.
Conclusions: There are substantial differences among surgeons and hospitals in the rates of secondary lip surgery. Further work is needed to identify causes for this variation among providers.
Keywords: cleft lip; health services; secondary surgery.
Conflict of interest statement
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