Stability of nasal symmetry following primary cleft lip and nasal repair: five years of follow-up

Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2023 Apr;52(4):451-459. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2022.07.011. Epub 2022 Aug 13.


Despite advances in cleft lip treatment, various levels of residual deformity remain after primary repair of cleft lip and palate. The aim of the current study was to compare the stability of short- and long-term postoperative nasal symmetry. This retrospective study included 100 consecutive non-syndromic patients with unilateral complete cleft lip who underwent primary cleft lip repair with follow-up of 5 years. Measurements taken from basal and frontal standard photograph views, obtained preoperatively (T1) and immediately (T2), 1 year (T3), and 5 years postoperative (T4), were analysed. Paired and independent t-tests were applied to assess the significance of differences and relationships, while the inter-class correlation coefficient was used to assess reliability; P < 0.05 was considered significant. The male to female ratio was 1:1; mean age at the time of surgery was 0.43 ± 0.25 years. All patients showed significant improvements following unilateral complete cleft lip repair. All variables measured at T3 revealed a significant relapse when compared to T2, except alar base position, which showed a constant mean across all postoperative follow-ups. Late relapse (T3-T4) was not significant for alar collapse, alar base position, or columellar angle (all P > 0.05). On the other hand, columellar height (P = 0.003), and nostril height (P = 0.038) and width (P = 0.007) showed significant improvements during the late relapse period. In conclusion, the majority of the relapse and changes following the nasal cleft repair occurred within the first postoperative year. However, nasal asymmetries tended to remain stable or reduced during the first 5 postoperative years.

Keywords: Aesthetics; Cleft lip; Follow-up studies; Recurrence; Rhinoplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Cleft Lip* / surgery
  • Cleft Palate* / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nasal Septum / surgery
  • Nose / surgery
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhinoplasty*
  • Treatment Outcome