BACKGROUND: The senior author routinely performs primary nasal reconstruction with every cleft lip repair. This addresses the nasal tip asymmetry and simplifies the definitive secondary rhinoplasty in adolescence. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was completed of all unilateral cleft secondary rhinoplasties performed by the senior author. The indications for secondary rhinoplasty were examined, anatomical features of the nose at the time of operation were documented, and the reconstructive techniques used were recorded. RESULTS: From 2001 to 2009, the senior author performed 116 secondary rhinoplasties in patients with a previously repaired unilateral cleft lip. The senior author performed 44 of the initial cleft lip repairs (group A). A Dibbell rhinoplasty was required in 26 percent, a Potter rhinoplasty was required in 5 percent, a Tajima inverted-U incision was required in 70 percent, and an alar base resection was required in 53 percent. For those patients who did not undergo cleft lip repair with primary rhinoplasty by the senior author, 60 percent required a Dibbell rhinoplasty, Potter rhinoplasty was not used, 76 percent required a Tajima inverted-U incision, and 64 percent required an alar base resection. Group A had significantly greater dome symmetry when comparing the cleft side to the noncleft side (p = 0.001). Nostril apex height was also more symmetrical in group A (p = 0.105). CONCLUSION: Primary nasal reconstruction performed with cleft lip repair as described by the senior author makes the nasal tip more symmetric and requires less complex intervention at the time of definitive secondary rhinoplasty.
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