Adopted children with cleft lip and/or palate: A unique and growing population

Jordan W. Swanson, James M. Smartt, Babette S. Saltzman, Craig B. Birgfeld, Richard A. Hopper, Joseph S. Gruss, Raymond Tse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: Standard clinical pathways are well established for children with cleft lip and/or palate. Treatment of internationally adopted children differs because of the late age at presentation, a newly evolving child-family relationship, and variable extent and quality of previous treatment. METHODS:: The authors characterized the presentation and treatment patterns of all internationally adopted children with clefts at their institution between 1997 and 2011. RESULTS:: Among 1841 children with clefts, 216 (12 percent) were internationally adopted: 78 percent had cleft lip and palate, 18 percent had cleft lip, and 4 percent had cleft palate. Patients originated predominantly from China (80 percent). Median age at presentation was 31 months, and the rate of new presentations increased five-fold during the study period. Eighty-two percent presented with prior cheiloplasty, and revision was recommended for 64 percent of them. Thirty-seven percent of patients had prior palatoplasty, of which 34 percent presented with a palatal fistula. Secondary palatoplasty/pharyngoplasty was performed more frequently for patients who underwent primary palatoplasty before adoption than after adoption (95 percent CI, 0.20 to 0.77). Overall, adoptees required secondary surgery more often than nonadoptees (49 percent versus 28 percent) regardless of where their primary surgery was performed. Changes in adoptee growth indices suggested improvements in systemic health following adoption. CONCLUSIONS:: Internationally adopted children with clefts have unique treatment challenges. Children with unrepaired clefts undergo surgery late, and children with prior repairs frequently undergo revision. Compared with nonadoptees, adoptees require more revisions and have a higher fistula rate. Further detailed study is important to optimize care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283e-293e
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Adopted children with cleft lip and/or palate: A unique and growing population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this