Self-perceived health related quality of life in adolescents with repaired cleft lip and palate

Aparajit Ravikumar, Rajesh Balan, Padmasani Venkatramanan


Background: Cleft lip and palate is one of the most frequent birth defects and is associated co-morbidities such as facial abnormalities, difficulty in feeding, speech impairments and hearing difficulties. The psychological consequences of this anomaly are often not addressed effectively resulting in silent suffering for these individuals. The dissatisfaction with surgical outcome as well as the stigma and discrimination may affect the quality of life for both patients and their family. The study evaluates the self-perceived quality of life in children with repaired cleft lip/palate.

Methods: Adolescents between the age of 11-18 years who were operated for cleft lip and palate in their early years were administered the WHO QOL-BREF questionnaire and their response were analysed in 4 domains, Physical health, Psychological, Social relationship and environmental.

Results: Among the 46 children enrolled, 29 were boys and 17girls. The mean scores across each domain were as follows: Physical health-68.5, psychological-66, social relationship-88.5 and environmental-79.1.  The psychological stressors frequently encountered were: teasing by their peer group, unattractive physical appearance and dissatisfaction with facial features post-surgery.

Conclusions: Among the 4 domains, the mean value of domain 3 (Social relationship) was the highest-88.5 and the mean value of domain 2 (Psychosocial) is the lowest-66. Continued psychological counselling and support during the turbulent adolescent years will help these children face the challenge of integrating with the society.


Adolescents, Cleft lip, Quality of life, WHO QOL-BREF

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