Does repairing a cleft lip neonatally have any effect on the longer-term attractiveness of the repair?
Goodacre, T.E.E., Hentges, F., Moss, T.L.H., Short, V. and Murray, L. (2004) Does repairing a cleft lip neonatally have any effect on the longer-term attractiveness of the repair? Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 41 (6). pp. 603-608. ISSN 1055-6656
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1597/03-028.1
Objective: To determine whether attractiveness and success of surgical outcome differ according to the timing of cleft lip repair. Design: Three experiments were conducted: (1) surgeons rated postoperative medical photographs of infants having either neonatal or 3-month lip repair; (2) lay panelists rated the same photographs; (3) lay panelists rated dynamic video displays of the infants made at 12 months. Normal comparison infants were also rated. The order of stimuli was randomized, and panelists were blind to timing of lip repair and the purposes of the study. Setting: Four U.K. regional centers for cleft lip and palate. Participants: Infants with isolated clefts of the lip, with and without palate. Intervention: Early lip repair was conducted at median age 4 days (inter-quartile range [IQR] = 4), and late repair at 104 days (IQR = 57). Main Outcome Measures: Ratings of surgical outcome (Experiment 1 only) and attractiveness (all experiments) on 5-point Likert scales. Results: In Experiment 1 success of surgical outcome was comparable for early and late repair groups (difference = -0.08; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -0.43 to 0.28; p = .66). In all three experiments, attractiveness ratings were comparable for the two groups. Differences were, respectively, 0.10 (95% CI = -2.3 to 0.44, p = .54); -0.11 (95% CI = -0.42 to -0.19, p = .54); and 0.08 (95% CI = -0.11 to 0.28, p =.41). Normal infants were rated more attractive than index infants (difference = 0.38; 95% CI = 0.24 to 0.52; p < .001). Conclusion: Neonatal repair for cleft of the lip confers no advantage over repair at 3 months in terms of perceived infant attractiveness or success of surgical outcome.