Factors Associated With Delay in Cleft Surgery at a Tertiary Children’s Hospital in a Major US Metropolitan City

Jacqueline Stoneburner, Naikhoba C.O. Munabi, Eric S. Nagengast, Madeleine S. Williams, Pedram Goel, Allyn Auslander, Lori K. Howell, Jeffrey A. Hammoudeh, Mark M. Urata, William P. Magee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    Objective: To identify factors associated with late cleft repair at a US tertiary children’s hospital. Design: Retrospective study of children with CL/P using Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) records. Setting: US tertiary children’s hospital. Patients/Participants: Patients undergoing primary CL or CP repair at CHLA from 2009 to 2018. Main Outcome Measures: Proportion of children who had delayed primary CL repair or CP repair using CHLA and American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) guidelines and factors associated with late surgery. Results: In total, 805 patients—503 (62.5%) who had CL repair, 302 (37.5%) CP repair—were included. Using CHLA protocol, 14.3% of patients seeking CL repair had delayed surgery. Delay was significantly associated with female gender, non-Hispanic ethnicity, Spanish primary language, government insurance, bilateral cleft, cleft lip and palate (CLP), and syndromic diagnosis. Using ACPA guidelines, 5.4% had delayed surgery. Female gender and syndromic diagnosis were significantly associated with delay and remained significant after adjustment for confounders in multivariate models. For CP repair, 60.3% of patients had delayed surgery using CHLA protocol. Cleft lip and palate diagnosis, complete cleft, syndromic diagnosis, and longer travel distance were significantly associated with delay. Using ACPA guidelines, 28.5% had delayed surgery; however, significant association with patient variables was not consistently observed. Conclusions: Delay in cleft surgery occurs most often for patients seeking CP repair and is associated with female gender, non-Hispanic ethnicity, Spanish language, government insurance, and bilateral CL, CLP, or syndromic diagnoses. Initiatives should aim to optimize cleft surgery delivery for these subpopulations.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1508-1516
    Number of pages9
    JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - Nov 2021


    • cleft lip/palate epidemiology
    • cleft lip/palate surgery

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oral Surgery
    • Otorhinolaryngology


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