Do pharyngeal flaps restrict early midface growth in patients with clefts?

Christine M. Jones, Andrew F.J. Mackay, Donald Mackay, Ross E. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To compare facial growth characteristics in patients with cleft palate who have undergone pharyngeal flap with those who had palatal lengthening or pharyngoplasty and to control subjects who have not had surgery for velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). Design Matched retrospective cohort study. Setting Multidisciplinary cleft care center. Patients All patients with cleft palate who had undergone pharyngeal flap or pharyngoplasty/palatal lengthening for VPI were included. Patients with craniofacial syndromes or those who had undergone maxillary protraction were excluded. A control group did not undergo surgery for VPI. The three groups were matched based on cleft type and ages at VPI surgery and cephalogram. Main Outcome Measures Thirteen craniofacial measurements were evaluated on postoperative cephalograms using an analysis of variance with a Bonferroni adjustment for significant measures (α = 0.05). Results Seventy-two patients were included; mean ages at VPI surgery and postoperative cephalogram were 5 and 8 years, respectively. Twelve of thirteen craniofacial measures were not significantly different; notably, this included maxillary height and projection. Only gonial angle was found to differ significantly (P = 018) in that pharyngoplasty and pharyngeal flap yielded a smaller angle compared with that in control subjects. Conclusion Facial growth, and in particular maxillary growth, was not altered as expected after pharyngeal flap surgery. Pharyngeal flap appears to be equivalent to pharyngoplasty and palatal lengthening in that no significant effects on early facial growth were detected after surgery for VPI in this cohort of children with cleft palate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-633
Number of pages5
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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