Surgical care for school-aged youth with cleft: Results from a multicenter, prospective observational study

Ryan Richard Ruff, Canice E. Crerand, Lacey Sischo, Alexandre Peshansky, David B. Sarwer, Richard E. Kirschner, Hillary L. Broder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore factors related to completion of surgery recommendations among children with cleft lip and palate (CLP) or cleft palate only (CPO). Design: Multicenter prospective longitudinal cohort study (2009-2015). Setting: Six cleft centers in the United States. Patients/Participants: A diverse sample of 1186 youth aged 7.5 to 18.5 years with CLP or CPO and a caregiver. Results: Data were collected from child–caregiver dyads at baseline and up to 3 follow-up visits. Of the 765 surgeries recommended during the study period, 83 were postponed and 597 were completed; this represents a completion rate of 78%. There were multiple reasons identified by patients for why the remaining 85 recommended surgeries were not completed. Children with nonprivate insurance were more likely to postpone recommended surgeries. Hispanic/Latino and Asian children had fewer surgeries compared to whites/Caucasians. Greater severity in rated speech differences was associated with more surgeries. Among participants who had completed all recommended surgeries, providers rated over 86% as having normal or mildly different facial appearance and 83% as having a normal or mild speech intelligibility rating. Similarly, caregivers rated 80% of facial appearance and 78% of speech positively. Approximately 25% of children had an additional surgical recommendation at the end of the study. Conclusions: The majority of surgical recommendations were completed with positive outcomes in facial appearance and speech intelligibility by provider and caregiver ratings. Several factors contributed to surgical recommendations not being completed and the results underscore the importance of examining socioeconomic and demographic disparities in surgical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1174
Number of pages9
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Cleft lip/palate
  • Cleft surgery
  • Surgical care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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