A Straightforward Technique to Repair a Residual Oronasal Fistula in Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate Patients

Bruce R. Nicol, Noel Ye Naung, Joseph E. Van Sickels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: An anterior palatal oronasal fistula in a bilateral cleft lip and palate is a challenging clinical dilemma. The purpose of this article is to present a 2-stage technique to repair the fistula in consistent fashion. The technique was developed to avoid more complicated procedures that had greater morbidity for larger oronasal defects that could not be treated in a single procedure. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective study performed over 15 years using this technique in a private practice setting. From 2002 to 2017, 15 7- to 12-year-old patients (11 boys and 4 girls) were treated. They were seen in a multispecialty clinic for anterior residual fistulae, and impressions were obtained. Then, they were scheduled for first-stage closing of the fistulae. Data were retrospectively analyzed. The first stage started with closing the central portion of the fistulae. For the second stage 6 months later, the residual nasoalveolar cleft was closed and grafted in standard fashion. The first stage involved posteriorly reflecting a full-thickness mucoperiosteal flap and inserting it into the palatal soft tissue and stabilizing the segment with a splint for 3 weeks. The premaxillary segment was left denuded. Results: Fourteen of 15 patients (93%) had the central portion of the oronasal fistulae successfully closed. One patient had partial breakdown when the splint was prematurely removed at 2 weeks. The patient underwent successful closure by the same procedure at a later date. All patients had successful second-stage grafting of their nasoalveolar clefts. Conclusions: An alternative technique is presented to treat clinically challenging oronasal fistulae. This 2-stage closure of a palatal fistula is straightforward, allows consistent closure of soft tissue defects, and avoids complex alternative procedures with serious surgical morbidities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1467.e1-1467.e6
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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