|Authors||Smith DM, Vecchione L, Jiang S, Ford M, Deleyiannis FW, Haralam MA, Naran S, Worrall CI, Dudas JR, Afifi AM, Marazita ML, Losee JE|
|Journal||Cleft Palate Craniofac. J. Volume: 44 Issue: 6 Pages: 590-4|
|Publish Date||2007 Nov|
Vague terminology is a problem in cleft palate research. No classification scheme for palatal fistulas has been proposed to date. Although a well-healed velum is a significant outcome of palatoplasty, it is nearly impossible to compare fistula-related palatoplasty results in the literature or in medical records without a standardized vocabulary. We endeavor to devise a palatal fistula classification system that may have clinical and research applicability.PubMed was searched for definitions and classifications of palatal fistula as well as incidence and recurrence rates of this outcome. Next, a 25-year retrospective review of our Cleft Center’s records was performed, and fistulas were identified (n=641 charts reviewed). The fistula descriptions yielded by this chart review were evaluated in the context of anatomical descriptions in the literature, and a clinician-friendly classification scheme was designed.A literature review failed to reveal a standardized fistula classification system. An anatomically based numerical fistula classification system was devised: type I, bifid uvula; type II, soft palate; type III, junction of the soft and hard palate; type IV, hard palate; type V, junction of the primary and secondary palates (for Veau IV clefts); type VI, lingual alveolar; and type VII, labial alveolar.We propose a standardized numerical classification system for palatal fistulas. Its clinical adoption may prospectively clarify ambiguities in the literature and facilitate future cleft palate research and clinical practice.