Sahel Medical Journal

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Unoperated Adult Cleft of the Primary Palate in Ilorin, Nigeria

IA Adigun, JO Adeniran


Congenital cleft lip deformity represents varying degrees of failure of mesenchymal migration and penetration from maxillary process into the naso-medial process. In Nigeria, and perhaps among other developing countries, the social attitude to congenital deformities has been appalling. It is widely acceptable that the repair of cleft lip should be done in infancy when the child has gained a constant weight of at least 10 pounds (4.5kg) and at least 10 weeks old with an haemoglobin concentration of at least 10g/dl.

In the last 24 months, our hospital managed 12 cases of unoperated adult cleft lip despite the availability of plastic surgery services in almost all the geo-political zones in Nigeria. These patients during the pre-school and school years has to battle with the stigmas of the typical mid broad lip and flattened nose deformities. Three of our patients dropped out of secondary education because of social embarrassment and one has returned to school after repair. Although clefts were very wide on presentation, there was adequate well developed soft tissue in adults to achieve cosmetically and functionally acceptable repair. Public enlightenment programme is highly needed to help improve early presentation.

(Key Words: Unoperated Adult Cleft, Primary, Palate)

Sahel Medical Journal Vol.7(1) 2004: 18-20
AJOL African Journals Online