Videoscope-Assisted Cleft Palate Surgery: Rationale, Experience, and Technical Implementation

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020 Nov;146(5):1129-1132. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000007291.


Limited visibility characteristic of cleft palate repair presents both ergonomic and educational challenges to cleft surgeons. Despite widespread recognition and reporting, posture-related spine disorders continue to represent a significant and potentially career-limiting problem for cleft/craniofacial surgeons. In addition, education and participation during palate repairs is difficult because of visual field constraints. At the authors' institution, a novel videoscope system was designed and implemented to (1) provide visualization for all surgical team members during palate operations, (2) facilitate active resident education, and (3) improve surgeon ergonomics. The authors' prior report demonstrated proof of concept for this method, which is now used in all cleft palate operations at their center. The purpose of this report is to share the detailed methodology to facilitate implementation by others and a retrospective review of the authors' experience before and after implementation. Video demonstration of the videoscope setup and a representative, recorded case are provided. The use of the videoscope was feasible in palatoplasties regardless of palatal phenotype and repair technique and did not have an effect on operative time. Subjectively, the authors report reduced procedure time in cervical flexion and subjectively improved musculoskeletal strain associated with videoscope use. Importantly, use of this system also provided complete visualization for all operating room team members and enabled enhanced resident autonomy during palate operations. Finally, it has facilitated the creation and archive of high-definition educational videos with unparalleled perspective. The equipment required to implement the system is likely already available in many medical centers. Adoption of this system may provide an opportunity to improve posture and teaching capabilities for cleft surgeons. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: Therapeutic, III.

MeSH terms

  • Cleft Lip / surgery*
  • Endoscopes*
  • Ergonomics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgery, Oral / methods*
  • Video-Assisted Surgery / instrumentation*