Palatal morphology in unilateral cleft lip and palate patients: Association with infant cleft dimensions and timing of hard palate repair

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Objectives: To assess the impact of cleft severity and timing of hard palate repair on palatal dimensions in unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) children. Setting and sample population: Single-centre analysis within a multicenter RCT of primary surgery; 122 UCLP randomized to early hard palate closure (EHPC) at 12 months or delayed hard palate closure (DHPC) at 36 months; 28 frequency-matched controls. Methods: Linear measurements of palatal height, width and length were performed on 116 digital models of UCLP subjects (8.21 years, SD = 0.53) and 28 models of non-cleft individuals (8.44 years SD = 0.72). Cleft dimensions at infancy (mean 1.8 months) were considered. In a pilot study, shell-to-shell distances between the 3D cleft palate objects and a reference mesh were calculated and differences between the groups assessed. Morphological differences were visualized using colour mapping. Results: Compared to controls, UCLP subjects presented a higher palate at the level of the anterior scar (P = 0.002), but generally a lower palate in the middle region (P < 0.001). Comparing UCLP subgroups, the DHPC subjects showed a flatter palate posteriorly (P = 0.048) and the EHPC group exhibited more transversal constriction (P = 0.003 at M1 level). 3D analysis revealed a shallower palate in the DHPC group both in the middle (P = 0.002) and the posterior part (P = 0.008). Anterior cleft severity correlated negatively with palatal height (P = 0.01). Conclusions: Unilateral cleft lip and palate palates differ from controls in width and height. DHPC may represent an advantage for the transversal dimension, but a disadvantage for palatal height. Infant cleft dimensions partially explain differences in palatal height.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrthodontics and Craniofacial Research
Pages (from-to)270-280
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

    Research areas

  • 3D imaging, cleft lip, cleft palate, hard palate surgery, palate morphometrics

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 162536825