A Survey of Bone Grafting Practice Patterns in North American Cleft Surgeons

Fatima Qamar, James J. Cray, Jordan Halsey, S. Alex Rottgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Alveolar bone grafting aims to restore bony continuity of the alveolus and provide optimal periodontal support for teeth adjacent to the cleft. We created a survey of cleft surgeons to assess the current standard of care regarding this procedure. Methods: A multiple choice survey was implemented using Qualtrics software and emailed to a list of 708 surgeons from the ACPA membership directory. Correlation between various provider factors and treatment practices was assessed with Fisher's exact test and likelihood ratio tests. Results: The response rate was 17.5%. Eighty-seven percent of providers preferred to perform grafts prior to secondary canine eruption while 10% favored before central incisor eruption. Eighty-one percent favored palatal expansion prior to bone grafting. Wide variability existed regarding the time to initiate postoperative orthodontics; 43% waited 4 to 6 months. Sixty-four percent of surgeons now utilize cone beam CT to assess graft take. The majority of respondents utilized cancellous bone autograft (92%) from the anterior iliac crest (97%) as graft material. Seventy percent used three or more modalities for post-operative pain control management. Early career surgeons (0–5 years) appeared more likely to use non-autologous materials (p <.01) for grafting. Conclusion: Alveolar bone grafting prior to secondary canine eruption remains the most common strategy but other protocols are employed. Surgeons utilize multiple modalities for radiographic evaluation and most often use autologous cancellous bone as the primary grafting material. There is no true consensus on the perioperative timing and sequencing of orthodontic manipulation while principles of multimodal perioperative pain control appear widely accepted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1366-1375
Number of pages10
JournalCleft Palate Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • alveolar bone graft
  • cleft lip
  • palate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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