Facial Cleft Deformity Clinic, Department of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; Mediclinic Midstream Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa. Electronic address: [Email]
The philtrum is an important aesthetic structure in the midface. A number of philtrum reconstruction techniques have been advocated for secondary cleft lip revision procedures. Conventional surgical management involves end-to-end orbicularis oris muscle approximation during primary cleft lip repair, often resulting in a flat lip appearance that requires secondary revision surgery at a later stage. A novel modification of the approximation of the orbicularis oris muscle is described that may be implemented with any cleft lip technique in order to create an accentuated philtrum column for a natural looking philtrum. The muscle roll technique results in eversion of the orbicularis oris muscle, successfully recapturing the philtrum column topography. This is achieved by utilizing two inverted horizontal sutures, with an additional philtrum takedown suture placed in the region of the dimple to accentuate the philtrum anatomy and three-dimensional profile. This novel technique in unilateral cleft lip repair addresses philtrum architecture during primary surgery, which may reduce the requirement for secondary surgical intervention. Its application may be particularly suitable in outreach programmes where postoperative follow-up may be compromised.