We have previously described a model for in utero cleft lip repair in rabbits. Cleft lip and alveolus (CL) were created in fetal rabbits at 24 days gestation (term, 31 days). In this study, postnatal maxillary growth was evaluated in three groups of animals: 1) unoperated controls, 2) unrepaired CL, and 2) repaired CL. The animals were killed at 4, 12, and 26 weeks after birth. Direct cephalometry was performed on dry skulls to evaluate premaxillary width, anterior maxillary length and width, and posterior maxillary width. The results of this study indicate that rabbits that undergo an in utero CL procedure, with or without repair, exhibit no significant decrease in maxillary length and width when compared with controls.
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