Send to

Choose Destination
Indian J Plast Surg. 2018 Sep-Dec;51(3):298-305. doi: 10.4103/ijps.IJPS_84_18.

A retrospective analysis of incidence and management of palatal fistula.

Author information

Department of Plastic Surgery, Amandeep Hospital, Amritsar, Punjab, India.



Cleft palate repair may be compromised by a number of complications, most commonly the development of a fistula. Fistulas may cause hypernasal speech, articulation problems and food or liquid regurgitation from the nose.


The study determines the incidence and management of cleft palatal fistulas in a series of primary cleft palate repair surgeries. It is a retrospective analysis of total 185 palatal fistula cases operated at our hospital from the year 2004 to 2016.

Subjects and Methods:

Of 185 palatal fistulas, 132 cases had been operated at our institute for primary palatoplasty, and the rest 53 were the outside-operated cases. The patients with bilateral as well as unilateral cleft lip and palate were included. Isolated cleft palate patients were also included in the study. Palatal fistulas were subdivided into three types depending on their size. Anterior palatal fistulas were mostly treated by using tongue flap (65.57%), followed by local flaps (34.43%). Middle and posterior palatal fistulas were mostly treated by von Langenbeck Palatoplasty. One patient (>5 mm fistula) was treated using free radial forearm flap.


Anterior palatal fistulas (65.57%) were most commonly reported, followed by middle (24.86%) and posterior (9.18%). Most commonly, the size of the fistulas ranged from 2 mm to 5 mm. The complication rate was reported to be 3.75% in case of tongue flap and 11.9% complications were reported in case of local flaps.


Tongue flap remains the flap of choice for managing very difficult and challenging anterior palatal fistulas compared to local flaps.


Cleft palate; palatal fistula; palatoplasty; tongue flap

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Medknow Publications and Media Pvt Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center