Perth scoring system for assessment of the cleft lip

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Linda Monshizadeh
Vijith Vijayasekaran


outcome assessment, research design, observation variation, surveys and questionnaires


Background: Currently, there is no standardised assessment tool to assess facial aesthetics in cleft lip and palate surgery. Inter-centre comparison is hampered by the use of different aesthetic indices with low intra- and inter-rater reliability.

Aim: The Perth scoring system is a new assessment tool for unilateral cleft lip which scores four key components of the cleft lip/nose repair: lip length, white roll, alar insertion point and vermillion. The aim of this study was to validate the Perth scoring system as a reliable and useful new assessment tool and to demonstrate the use of the scoring system to measure improvements after cleft lip revision.

Method: Nineteen patients who underwent cleft lip revision by the senior author were selected. Pre- and postoperative photos were presented to a panel of raters to score. Scores were analysed to determine the intra-and inter-rater reliability and to compare outcomes.

Results: Almost all patients (15/16) had improvement in scores (range 1.09–5.59) after cleft lip revision. Intra raters’ agreement scores from lowest to highest were: lip length (0.65), white roll (0.7), alar insertion point (0.78) and vermillion (0.78). The total intra-class correlation coefficient was 0.96 (0.94–0.98, 95% CI, P<0.000).

Conclusion: This new scoring system is a valid and useful tool for assessment of the unilateral cleft lip. The high rate of intra- and inter-rater reliability allow it to serve as a useful tool to compare surgical outcomes both within and between centres. Further field testing with a larger cohort of patients is required.

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