Philtral Ridge Projection in Repaired Unilateral Cleft Lip: Three-Dimensional Anthropometry

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2021 Jan 1;147(1):141-147. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000007460.


Background: Cleft surgeons try to construct a philtral ridge during primary repair of a cleft lip, but rarely document the results. The authors used three-dimensional photogrammetry to measure projection of philtral ridges after closure of the common forms of unilateral labial cleft.

Methods: This is a retrospective study of patients with unilateral complete, incomplete (moderate and severe), and microform cleft lip repaired by one surgeon from 2000 to 2013. Cleft type determined the technique for building a philtral ridge. The relative elevation of the ridge on the cleft versus noncleft side was measured on three-dimensional childhood photographs at two locations along the philtrum: just above the Cupid's bow and at the midlabial level.

Results: Thirty-four patients were evaluated at a mean age of 9.25 years. All cleft types exhibited greater projection at the philtral midlabial level compared with the Cupid's bow level. The authors found a trend toward a more prominent cleft side philtral ridge in microforms. In incomplete cleft lips, there was slightly greater philtral ridge projection in severe forms repaired after a preliminary nasolabial adhesion compared with those repaired in a single stage. There was similar projection of the cleft side ridge in two-stage complete and single-stage repaired incomplete lips.

Conclusions: It is possible to construct a philtral ridge that is as prominent as the noncleft side in all types of unilateral cleft lip. Increased muscle thickness may explain the slightly increased philtral ridge projection in patients with an incomplete cleft repaired in two stages compared to one-stage closure.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cleft Lip / surgery*
  • Cleft Palate / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Lip / anatomy & histology*
  • Lip / diagnostic imaging
  • Lip / surgery
  • Male
  • Orthognathic Surgical Procedures*
  • Photogrammetry / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome