Growth was studied in 83 children with cleft lip and/or palate aged 0-4 years attending a specialist regional centre. Information was collected by a personal interview, postal questionnaire, and record review. The group as a whole grew relatively poorly in early infancy but subsequently recovered, attaining both expected weight and height by last follow up at age 25.5 months (range 3 to 47). However, the group proved heterogeneous, with children with isolated clefts of the secondary palate showing the most abnormal growth. Children with underlying syndromes were significantly more likely to be short at follow up, while type or severity of cleft was not significantly related to follow up height. Therefore, while cleft palate was associated with significant growth faltering in early infancy, rapid recovery took place following surgical repair and appears to have resulted in no residual growth deficit.
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