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Clinical Outcome for Palatoplasty

Department of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery

Clefts of the lip and palate, occurring with an incidence of about 1 per 550 live births, are the commonest congenital craniofacial anomalies. These defects create problems in feeding, speech, hearing, dental development and facial growth. Despite surgical and multidisciplinary advances in cleft care, the associated speech disability and facial appearance represent serious barriers to social integration.

Palatoplasty is surgery performed to repair a cleft palate. Reported postoperative complications of palatoplasty include oropharyngeal infection, bleeding, upper respiratory tract infection, aspiration pneumonia, airway obstruction, otitis media, feeding difficulties, hyperthermia, flap dehiscence, and fistula formation.

In a study of 74 infants who had undergone primary palatoplasty at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital between 2002 and 2008, 7.2% of infants at three-year follow up were found to have the following post-operative complication (including early and late post-operative complications):


Number of patients

Early postoperation bleeding2
Wound dehiscence within 1 month postoperation1
Palatal fistula formation after 1 month postoperation3

Complications of early postoperation bleeding and wound dehiscence within one month postoperation were resolved spontaneously. Of the three palatal fistulas, one was repaired surgically and the other two were clinically insignificant and treated conservatively.