A Meta-Analysis of Palatal Repair Timing

J Craniofac Surg. 2021 Mar-Apr;32(2):647-651. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000007029.


Developing midface hypoplasia is common after palatoplasty and has been hypothesized to be influenced by the timing of hard palate repair. This meta-analysis assesses the risk of developing midface hypoplasia based on age at hard palate repair. A Pubmed PRISMA systematic review and meta-analysis was completed for literature focused on palatoplasty and midface hypoplasia published between 1970 and 2019. Cephalometric data were extracted and categorized by age at hard palate repair: <6, 7 to 12, 13 to 18, 19 to 24, and 25 to 83 months. Analysis of these groups and a control were compared using independent T-tests and Spearman correlation coefficients. SNA angles for each group were 77.9 ± 3.1° (<6 months), 77.7 ± 4.2° (7-12 months), 78.7 ± 4.2° (13-18 months), 75.1 ± 4.2° (19-24 months), 75.5 ± 4.8° (25-83 months), and were statistically different than the control group 82.4 ± 3.5° (P < 0.0001). Hard palate repair at 13 to 18 months had a statistically significant greater SNA angle than all other groups except for the repair at <6 months group (P = 0.074). As age at hard palate closure increased beyond 18 months, the SNA decreased, corresponding to a more hypoplastic maxilla (Spearman's correlation coefficient -0.381, P = 0.015). Analysis suggests that younger age at the time of repair is less likely to create in midface hypoplasia in adulthood. Minimizing midface hypoplasia in cleft palate patients by optimizing algorithms of care is a practical way to decrease the burden of disease on patients, families and medical systems. Further studies are needed to evaluate the role of technique on outcomes.Level of Evidence: IV.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biometry
  • Cephalometry
  • Cleft Lip* / surgery
  • Cleft Palate* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Maxilla / surgery
  • Palate, Hard / surgery
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures*