Missed diagnosis of isolated bilateral transverse facial cleft: A case report

  • O.F. Fagbule
  • O.T. Alade
  • O. Ibiyemi
  • A.A. Olusanya
Keywords: Congenital macrostomia, Tessier 7, Rare facial cleft, Missed diagnosis


Bilateral transverse facial cleft is the most common of the rare facial clefts and early presentation is a key element for successful  management and prevention of possible complications like poor esthetics, speech and eating difficulties. Though several studies have documented reasons for late presentation, none has highlighted non-referral due to missed diagnosis by healthcare workers as a reason.
Case Report: A nine-year-old girl was brought by her parents to the Primary Oral Health Clinic on account of “very wide mouth” noticed at birth. The mother noticed the anomaly few hours after she gave birth to her and immediately pointed the attention of the nurses and birth attendants to it but they dismissed her concern. Subsequently, the mother took the girl to the maternity centre for routine immunization appointments, but none of the healthcare workers she encountered recognized the birth defect. The parents further reported that the girl received jests and abuses from her peers. A diagnosis of Isolated Bilateral Tessier number 7 cleft was made based on clinical  examination findings. She was referred to a cleft centre where the repair was successfully carried out at no cost to the patient through the Smile-Train® sponsorship program. Subsequent follow-up visits to the primary healthcare clinic in the sixth and ninth month post-surgery revealed remarkable improvement in both patient’s and parents’ self-reported psycho-social wellbeing.
Conclusion: This case report presents a rare presentation of delayed isolated congenital bilateral macrostomia because of healthcare workers failure to diagnose.


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eISSN: 1597-1627