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South African Journal of Surgery

On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361


BLAKE, N et al. The spectrum of orofacial clefts and treatment logistics at Universitas Academic Hospital, Bloemfontein, South Africa. S. Afr. j. surg. [online]. 2021, vol.59, n.2, pp.57-61. ISSN 2078-5151.

BACKGROUND: Cleft lips and/or palates should be identified early and be operated on at specific ages according to international recommendations. In African countries, however, cleft lip and palate surgeries are often delayedMETHODS: A retrospective, descriptive study was done to determine the distribution, specific time delays, demographics and loss to follow-up of patients with cleft lip and/or palates treated at Universitas Academic Hospital over a 10-year period. Data was obtained from outpatient files from the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department at Universitas Academic Hospital. Two hundred and three of 318 records (63.8%) had the defined variables documentedRESULTS: The median time from first presentation to specialist consultation was 1.9 months. The median ages for first presentation was 2.2 months and for specialist consultation 5.2 months. Patients mainly had isolated cleft palates (42.4%), followed by both cleft lip and palate (31%) and isolated cleft lips (24.6%). A quarter of patients (25.6%) were lost to follow-up. More than a third (36.5%) of patients were referred from the local Motheo district and 12.8% were referred from LesothoCONCLUSION: In our setting, patients with cleft lip and/or palate are generally diagnosed and referred late. These patients also have delayed access to specialist consultation. Often patients are only evaluated by specialists at ages whereby they should have already undergone their first surgeries. Too many patients are lost to follow-up

Keywords : orofacial cleft; delay; presentation; consultation; surgery.

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