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imageBackground: Straight-line closure repair of unilateral cleft lips was first introduced in the 1840s, and since then, many different techniques have been attempted for cleft repair. However, these methods have several disadvantages and are difficult to adopt. In this study, we describe our novel technique, known as Straight-Line Advanced Release Technique (StART), and its application in treating several cases of unilateral cleft lip.
Methods: The preoperative design of the surgical method is drawn on the skin, the vermilion, and the oral mucosa. A total of 13 points are marked (points 0–12). The A flap, B flap, triangular flap, M (medial mucosal) flap, and L (lateral mucosal) flap are designed. After completion of the preoperative marking, the wide dissection is performed to separate the orbicularis oris muscle completely from the abnormally inserted bony structure and the enveloped skin-mucosal flap. The freed orbicularis oris muscle is then reconstructed with full width. After all planes of the lip wound are closed, a straight vertical skin suture line is achieved without any unnecessary transverse scar.
Results: Unilateral cleft lip repair using StART was conducted in 145 patients between 1993 and 2012. Cases of microform cleft lip were excluded. A total of 21 patients (14%) required a secondary operation on the lip after the first unilateral cheiloplasty. In all patients, satisfactory surgical outcomes were obtained with an indistinct straight-lined scar and a well-aligned lip contour.
Conclusions: To acquire a natural and balanced shape in unilateral cleft lip repair, we recommend the novel StART.

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