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A long-term retrospective outcome assessment of facial growth, secondary surgical need, and maxillary lateral incisor status in a surgical-orthodontic protocol for complete clefts.

In 1965, the cleft palate team at Children's Memorial Hospital embarked on a new surgical-orthodontic protocol in the habilitation of newborn complete cleft lip and palate cases. It brought the orthodontic effort into focus at birth and in planned sequence to correspond with the surgical procedures of lip closure, maxillary alveolar stabilization by means of an autogenous graft of the authors' design, and complete palate closure, all within the first year of life. The purpose of this investigation is threefold: first, to review the authors' previous publications and assess growth, secondary surgical need, and lateral incisor status of teeth adjacent to the cleft in a series of patients who have all followed a precise, early surgical/orthodontic protocol; second, to compare these cases with other collaborative studies wherein this protocol was not used; and third, to report on an additional 82 cases with regard to secondary surgical need and the status of teeth adjacent to the cleft. Methods of assessment have included cephalometric radiography, periapical and occlusal dental radiography, computer-assisted tomography, plaster cast analysis, and intraoral and extraoral photography. The authors have demonstrated, along with other collaborative studies, that there is growth as good as other similar samples wherein there was no primary osteoplasty. In addition, the authors found their incidence of orthognathic surgery to be 18.29 percent; pharyngoplasty, 3.65 percent; and oronasal fistulas requiring surgical closure, 29.27 percent. In the case of unilateral complete clefts, 53.13 percent of those lateral incisors present adjacent to the cleft area were usable, and in bilateral cases, 57.77 percent were usable. The authors remain convinced after more than 35 years of following this successful protocol that early maxillary orthopedics and their technique of primary osteoplasty in planned sequence with lip and palate closure can produce a more favorable alignment of maxillary growth potential and, with comprehensive orthodontic treatment, can lead to teeth in a better overall occlusion than if these procedures had not been undertaken.

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