Date: February 2022.
Source: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open: Volume 10, Issue 2, p e4125, doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000004125.
Background: Patients with unilateral cleft lip often require secondary procedures due to asymmetric fullness or deficiencies along the mucosal free margin of the upper lip. Here, we describe our technique for mucosal advancement and repair to attain symmetry.
Materials and Methods: Maneuvers to obtain vermilion and mucosal height include (1) use of a tailored vermilion flap; (2) supraperiosteal release of the lesser segment; (3) backcut “poker incision” to mobilize the mucosal flap on the lesser segment; (4) transverse release of mucosa across the greater segment; (5) accurate reduction along vermilion-mucosal junction; and (6) bilateral medial mucosal advancement. To examine postoperative outcomes, photographic data were available for 14 patients with unilateral complete cleft lip. The Cleft Lip Component Symmetry Index was then calculated as a ratio of upper lip height on cleft to noncleft sides, where an index of 1 indicates symmetry.
Results: Sixteen consecutive patients underwent unilateral cleft lip repair with this technique over a 3-year period, none of whom have required secondary operations. The symmetry index for 14 of 16 patients was 1.02 ± 0.11 (95% confidence interval [0.96, 1.08], P = 0.56), demonstrating satisfactory upper lip symmetry.
Conclusions: Postoperative asymmetry after unilateral cleft lip repair, particularly along the free margin, continues to be a common problem, necessitating secondary procedures. The technique of mucosal repair merits more careful attention than it has previously received, and here we describe in detail a method that has allowed for improved symmetry.

Article: Unilateral Cleft Lip Repair: Technical Maneuvers to Achieve Vermilion and Mucosal Height.
Authors: Sarah N Chiang, BS; Ema Zubovic, MD; Gary B Skolnick, MBA; Kamlesh B Patel, MD, MSc. Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo.