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Closer to the Truth on National Fistula Prevalence After Unilateral Complete Cleft Lip and Palate Repair? The Cleft Care UK Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Early online date27 Jun 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 15 May 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 27 Jun 2019


To 1) determine the prevalence of non-perialveolar palatal fistula up to age five following repair of unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) in the United Kingdom (UK); 2) examine the association of palatoplasty techniques with fistula occurrence, and 3) describe the frequency of fistula repairs and their success.

Cross-sectional study

All 11 centralized regional cleft centers in the UK.

268 children born between 2005-2007 recruited by Cleft Care UK (CCUK), a nationwide cross-sectional study of all five-year-old children born with non-syndromic UCLP.

Main outcome measure:
Non-perialveolar palatal fistula prevalence up to age five.

Fistulas were found in 72 children (31.3%, 95% CI: 25.4 to 37.7%), and had no significant association with palate repair sequences. Twenty-four fistulas were repaired by age five, twelve of which had data showing 10 (83.3%) successful repairs.

The prevalence of non-perialveolar fistulas following primary palatoplasty of UCLP in the UK was higher than previously reported. This information should be part of the preoperative discussion with families. Prospective collection of the presence of fistulas will be necessary before we can associate the occurrence of fistulas with a surgeon, institution, surgical technique or protocol of care.

Additional information

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.

    Structured keywords

  • Physical and Mental Health

    Research areas

  • Nonsyndromic clefting, Hard palate, Soft palate, Palatoplasty, Surgical complications

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Sage at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 243 KB, PDF document


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