Telemedicine in International Cleft Care: A Systematic Review

Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2021 Dec;58(12):1547-1555. doi: 10.1177/1055665621989140. Epub 2021 Feb 4.


Background: Cleft lip and cleft palate (CLP) are among the world's most common congenital malformation and has a higher prevalence in developing nations due to environmental and genetic factors. Global efforts have been developed in order to prevent and treat the malformation. Telemedicine has been implemented in various humanitarian global missions with success and is currently the primary means of care due to COVID-19.

Objective: To assess the benefits and barriers of telehealth in the care of patients with CLP through a global approach.

Methods: Systematic review of the PubMed and Cochrane Review databases with relevant terms related to telemedicine in cleft lip and palate surgery.

Results: Eight articles fit the inclusion criteria and suggested benefits with the use of telemedicine in regard to education, preoperative, and postoperative care as well as increased access to underserved populations. Barriers included connectivity and accessibility concerns.

Conclusion: Telehealth is a beneficial way to evaluate patients with CLP in developing countries with proper care and follow-up to reduce complications and to improve health outcomes.

Keywords: cleft lip; cleft palate; health delivery; practice management; telehealth; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Cleft Lip* / therapy
  • Cleft Palate* / therapy
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine*