Results of cleft palate repair with the double-reverse Z-plasty performed by residents

Eric A. Mann, James D. Sidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The double-reverse Z-plasty (Furlow) repair of soft palate clefts has the advantages of lengthening the soft palate while reconstructing the palatal muscle sling to optimize velopharyngeal function. Because soft tissue from the hard palate is not mobilized to lengthen the soft palate, this technique has an additional theoretic advantage of minimizing disturbances of maxillofacial growth. Cited disadvantages of the technique include increased technical difficulty and operating time compared with other procedures. We performed a retrospective study of 20 consecutive Furlow repairs of the soft palate performed by residents under supervision of one attending surgeon between 1989 and 1992. All children had complete cleft of the soft palate; 14 had incomplete cleft and six had complete cleft of the hard palate, which were repaired by a modified Von Langenbeck technique or with vomer flaps. Mean age of patients was 15 months, and mean operating time (including placement of pressure-equalizing tubes) was 162 minutes, with an average estimated blood loss of less than 25 ml. Average time until adequate oral intake was achieved was 1.7 days, and duration of hospitalization averaged 2.4 days. Immediate postoperative complications included transient tongue edema in one patient and atelectasis and pneumonia in one patient with multiple congenital anomalies. Delayed postoperative complications included symptoms of sleep apnea in four patients, which subsequently improved after tonsillectomy and/or superior adenoidectomy. Fistulas occurred in two patients (10%), which compares favorably with published results of other techniques. Preliminary functional evaluations reveal that all repairs appear to have adequate length and good mobility; speech evaluations are in progress. Thus the double-reverse Z-plasty technique can be effectively taught to residents, and acceptable complication rates and functional results can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-80
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes


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