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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2008 Oct;122(4):1131-7. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318184590c.

Nasoalveolar molding improves appearance of children with bilateral cleft lip-cleft palate.

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Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10022, USA.



Bilateral cleft lip-cleft palate is associated with nasal deformities typified by a short columella. The authors compared nasal outcomes of cleft patients treated with banked fork flaps to those of patients who underwent nasoalveolar molding and primary retrograde nasal reconstruction.


A retrospective review of 26 consecutive patients with bilateral cleft lip-cleft palate was performed. Group 1 patients (n = 13) had a cleft lip repair and nasal correction with banked fork flaps. Group 2 patients (n = 13) had nonsurgical columellar elongation with nasoalveolar molding followed by cleft lip closure and primary retrograde nasal correction. Group 3 patients (n = 13) were age-matched controls. Columellar length was measured at presentation and at 3 years of age. The number of nasal operations was recorded to 9 years. The Kruskal-Wallis and Tukey-Kramer tests were used for statistical analysis.


Initial columellar length was 0.49 +/- 0.37 mm in group 1 and 0.42 +/- 0.62 mm in group 2. Post-nasoalveolar molding columellar length was 4.5 +/- 0.76 mm in group 2. By 3 years of age, columellar length was 3.03 +/- 1.47 mm in group 1, 5.98 +/- 1.09 mm in group 2, and 6.35 +/- 0.99 mm in group 3. Group 2 columellar length was significantly greater (p < 0.001) than that of group 1 and not statistically different from that of group 3 (p > 0.05). All group 1 patients (13 of 13) needed secondary nasal surgery. No nasoalveolar molding patients (zero of 13, group 2) required secondary nasal surgery.


Nonsurgical columellar elongation with nasoalveolar molding followed by primary retrograde nasal reconstruction restored columellar length to normal by 3 years and significantly reduced the need for secondary nasal surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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