BACKGROUND: The present study was performed to quantitatively analyze the three-dimensional morphology of the nasal septa of patients with alveolar and alveolopalatal clefts. METHODS: Twenty-five unilateral complete cleft lip patients with alveolar clefts only (alveolar cleft group) and 35 unilateral complete cleft lip patients with alveolar and palatal clefts (alveolar and palatal cleft group) were included in the study. Although no patient in either group had undergone alveoloplasty, all patients had undergone palatoplasty. The degree of nasal septum deviation was studied for each patient at three different depths along the anteroposterior axis using three-dimensional computed tomographic data; the data were compared between the two groups to elucidate whether the difference in cleft type affects the morphologic patterns of the nasal septum. RESULTS: The nasal septa of the alveolar and palatal cleft group patients presented more uneven morphologic patterns than those of the alveolar cleft group patients. In the alveolar cleft group, the nasal septa did not present significantly different degrees of deviation at their anterior and posterior parts. In the alveolar and palatal cleft group, however, the posterior parts of the nasal septa presented greater deviation than the anterior parts. In the alveolar and palatal cleft group, furthermore, a significant correlation was observed between the severity of the cleft and the degree of the nasal septum deviation. CONCLUSIONS: The nasal septa present different three-dimensional morphologic patterns between the patients with alveolar clefts only and those with alveolopalatal clefts. This difference should be considered when performing surgical treatments for these patients.
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