Structural fat grafting to improve reconstructive outcomes in secondary cleft lip deformity

Christine M. Jones, Brad T. Morrow, William B. Albright, Ross E. Long, Thomas D. Samson, Donald R. Mackay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the technique and results of structural fat grafting in cleft lip revision, including patient satisfaction and aesthetic outcome. Design: Retrospective case series. Setting: Multidisciplinary cleft care center. Patients: All patients who underwent structural fat grafting between June 2006 and September 2012 for cleft lip revision, with appropriate photographic follow-up included. Twenty-two cases were reviewed; 18 had sufficient data to be included. Interventions: Patients underwent structural fat grafting for cleft lip revision, most commonly injecting fat under deficient philtral columns, the nostril base, and upper lip. Main Outcome Measures: Blinded observers rated outcomes using the Asher-McDade nasolabial appearance rating scale. Patients completed questionnaires assessing their satisfaction. A paired Student's t-test was used to test outcomes for significance (alpha = 0.05). Results: Patients were an average of 16 years old (range 6-43); average length of follow up was 11.7 months. Overall symmetry and aesthetics were improved based on the nasal form (P = 0.006) and vermillion border (P = 0.04) when rated using the Asher-McDade scale. No complications were recorded. Patients were significantly happier with their appearance after fat grafting (P < 0.001) and were uniformly positive when questioned about the ease of the surgery and rate of recovery. Conclusions: Structural fat grafting is a safe and effective way to improve symmetry and enhance facial proportions in patients with cleft lip. Given the high degree of patient satisfaction, few complications, and durable results, fat grafting offers many advantages in cleft lip revision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-74
Number of pages5
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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