Cleft Palate Repair by Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck Surgeons: Risk Factors for Postoperative Fistula.
To assess the incidence of palatal fistula after primary repair of the cleft palate among two cohorts of Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck Surgeons and to identify patient and surgeon characteristics that may predict fistula development.Retrospective case series with chart review.Children who underwent primary repair of cleft palate at one of two multidisciplinary cleft centers over a 10 year period were identified. Charts were reviewed for the presence of palatal fistula; chi square test and multivariate logistic regression analysis were performed to determine variables associated with fistula formation.From 2007 to 2017, 477 patients underwent primary repair of cleft palate by one of 6 Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck Surgeons. Twenty-four children had incomplete charts, allowing 453 patients to be included in the final analysis. The pooled mean incidence of palatal fistula was 6.6% (P = .525) and varied significantly by cleft type. Logistic regression analysis controlling for multiple variables, showed that Veau IV classification had the highest risk of fistula (OR = 10.582; P = .004). Repair by a specific surgeon was not a significant risk factor for fistula development (P > .07 for each surgeon).Among six Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck Surgeons with fellowship training in cleft palate repair postoperative fistula rates were consistent and compared favorably to standards in the Cleft and Craniofacial surgery literature established by other surgical specialties. Consistent with larger database studies involving multiple surgical specialties, Veau IV classification was the strongest predictor of palatal fistula development, even after adjusting for multiple variables, including differing levels of experience.4 Laryngoscope, 2020.