We present a case of midface distraction in a bilateral cleft lip and palate patient. The patient was a 10-year-old who underwent a high LeFort I osteotomy followed by placement of the Rigid External Distraction halo. Distraction was commenced on the fifth postoperative day at a rate of 1 to 1.5 mm per day until a total of 17 mm of maxillary advancement had been achieved. There were no complications and follow up was at 9 months post distraction. Results show that the patient had improved facial aesthetics and dental occlusion which was overcorrected to a Class III relationship. Velopharyngeal function was unaffected. Distraction osteogenesis of the midfacial skeleton in cleft patients offers the possibility to remodel not only the underlying bony skeleton but also all the soft tissues of the face and palate.
The aetiology of midfacial hypoplasia in patients with cleft lip and palate has been attributed in the literature to the surgical procedures used for the primary correction of these deformities. Ross reported that approximately 25% of patients developed maxillary hypoplasia that was refractory to orthodontic management alone.
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