Coordination of the Fetal Medicine Institute and the Cleft and Craniofacial Center: Application to Early Management of Infants with Cleft Lip and Palate

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Craniofacial Surgery








Cleft lip/palate; imaging; prenatal diagnosis; sensitivity; specificity


Copyright © 2019 Mutaz B. Habal, MD. Background/Purpose:The primary objective of this study is to describe the authors' experience at the Children's National Health System with the coordination of the Fetal Medicine Institute and the Cleft and Craniofacial Center. This collaboration highlights the accuracy and completeness of prenatal diagnosis of cleft abnormalities with expedient postnatal management.Methods:With Institutional Review Board approval, the authors retrospectively reviewed 74 patients referred for potential orofacial cleft and 44 met the inclusion criteria. Follow-up fetal ultrasonography is typically performed and three-dimensional imaging was performed when feasible. If questionable anomalies or facial findings are present on these studies, the authors proceed with fetal magnetic resonance imaging. A thorough consultation is held with the cleft team, resulting in a comprehensive plan of care. Postnatal examination confirmed the correct prenatal diagnosis in nearly all patients.Results:Sensitivity and specificity for isolated unilateral cleft lip were 89% and 100%, respectively; for unilateral cleft lip and palate, sensitivity and specificity were 82% and 90%, respectively; for bilateral cleft lip and palate, sensitivity and specificity were 97% and 90%, respectively. Initial postnatal evaluation by the cleft surgeon occurred at an average age of 21 days after birth. All patients who were candidates for presurgical orthodontia were treated at an appropriate young age (mean: 66.5 days).Conclusions:Coordinated prenatal evaluation of patients with cleft lip/palate by multidisciplinary centers plays an important role in the care of these complex patients. The results of the authors' study demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity for the prenatal diagnosis of cleft lip/palate, leading to timely postnatal evaluation and treatment.

This document is currently not available here.