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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2005 Nov;116(6):1623-32.

Double unilimb Z-plastic repair of microform cleft lip.

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Craniofacial Center, Division of Plastic Surgery, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Microform unilateral cleft lip is characterized by 1) notched mucosal margin; 2) thin medial vermilion; 3) elevated medial peak of Cupid's bow; 4) furrowed philtral column; 5) hypoplastic orbicularis oris; and 6) minor nasal deformity.


The author's registry of unilateral incomplete cleft lip was culled for patients with microform cleft lip. Operative correction included: double-limb Z-plasty at the vermilion-cutaneous and vermilion-mucosal junctions; eversion of orbicularis oris; augmentation of philtral ridge with a dermal graft; medial positioning of the alar base; and elevation of the lower lateral cartilage.


Microform phenotype was found in 33 of 360 infants (9.2 percent) with unilateral incomplete cleft lip. Male-to-female and left-to-right ratio were both 2:1. Median age at presentation was 11 months (range, 2 weeks to 9 years). Twenty-three patients had a double unilimb Z-plastic repair (including dermal graft and nasal correction). No revisions have been necessary at median follow-up of 5 years, however, 13 percent of children lacked prominence of the upper philtral column and one-third of children exhibited minor nostril asymmetry.


Double unilimb Z-plasty corrects the vertical asymmetry in a microform cleft lip while limiting the scar to the lower one-half of the lip. The philtral ridge is formed by repair of the muscular diastasis and onlay of a dermal graft. Components of this technique are applicable to secondary cleft deformities, such as elevated peak of the Cupid's bow and inadequate philtral ridge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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