The cleft-columellar angle: A useful variable to describe the unilateral cleft lip-associated nasal deformity

Noah E. Meltzer, Dhananjay Vaidya, Randolph B. Capone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: To study a method for quantification of the severity of either the unilateral cleft lip deformity or the associated cleft nasal deformity. A standard method would be useful for defining surgical outcomes. Design: Using a developed rating questionnaire and patient photographs, 26 nonexpert volunteers rated 14 children with untreated unilateral cleft lip according to the severity of their overall deformity, as well as the individual lip and nose deformities. The cleft-columellar angle was measured as defined by the intersection of a line in the parasagittal plane and a line perpendicular to the columellar base along the midcolumellar line. The association between deformity ratings and the cleft-columellar angle was modeled using mixed-model regression analysis. Setting: Tertiary care academic medical center. Results: After accounting for within-rater and within-child effects, the cleft-columellar angle explained a statistically significant portion of the variance in the rated severity for lip deformity (49%, p = .0012), nasal deformity (57%, p = .0001), and overall deformity (57%, p = .0005). Conclusions: Measurement of the cleft-columellar angle in two-dimensional digital photography is simple and correlative, capturing a substantial portion of nonexpert severity ratings of the constellation of deformities seen with the unilateral cleft lip deformity. Given its ease of application, the cleft-columellar angle is a useful variable in the description of the unilateral cleft lip deformity and may find utility across institutions as cleft surgeons seek to advance surgical care through outcomes research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft nasal deformity
  • Objective measures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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