We have developed a model for fetal cleft lip (CL) repair in rabbits. To date, the in utero CL procedure has been performed on 174 fetuses in 98 pregnant does. Details of the model, wound healing characteristics, and early growth results have been published previously. In this study, we report long-term clinical and cephalometric findings in 23 fetuses who underwent the fetal CL procedure, were born alive, and survived until completion of growth. The surgically created and repaired CL in fetal rabbits described here resulted in healing without scar formation. The deformity varies from an incomplete to a severe complete cleft, resembling the clinical spectrum of spontaneous clefts in humans. Cephalometric studies indicate that there were no statistically significant differences in premaxillary width, anterior maxillary length, or anterior and posterior maxillary width among control, unrepaired, and repaired animals. Documentation of this phenomenon in higher animals is necessary before the technique can be applied to humans with cleft lip.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993KH78000002
View details for PubMedID 8418867