Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 6;12(1):18837. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-23584-0.
Growth alterations have been described in patients operated on for oral clefts. The purpose of this work was to analyze the craniofacial and palate morphology and dimensions of young adults operated on for oral clefts in early childhood in Spain. Eighty-three patients from eight different hospitals were divided into four groups based on their type of cleft: cleft lip (CL, n = 6), unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP, n = 37), bilateral cleft lip and palate (BCLP, n = 16), and cleft palate only (CPO, n = 24). A control group was formed of 71 individuals. Three-dimensional (3D) digital models were obtained from all groups with an intraoral scanner, together with cephalometries and frontal, lateral, and submental facial photographs. Measurements were obtained and analyzed statistically. Our results showed craniofacial alterations in the BCLP, UCLP, and CPO groups with an influence on the palate, maxilla, and mandible and a direct impact on facial appearance. This effect was more severe in the BCLP group. Measurements in the CL group were similar to those in the control group. Cleft characteristics and cleft type seem to be the main determining factors of long-term craniofacial growth alterations in these patients. Prospective research is needed to clearly delineate the effects of different treatments on the craniofacial appearance of adult cleft patients.