The present study aimed to determine whether laypeople and professionals rate the facial appearance of individuals with repaired complete unilateral or bilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP, BCLP) similarly based on viewing full facial images.
The study followed a cross-sectional analytical design where five young patients aged 10 to 14 years, who had completed all stages of their unilateral or bilateral cleft lip and palate treatment (bilateral: three, unilateral: two), were evaluated by two groups. The assessment was done by laypeople and 97 qualified professionals (33 orthodontists, 32 plastic surgeons, and 32 oral and maxillofacial surgeons). Professionals were not involved in any stage of the patients’ treatment.
The facial appearance assessment of the professional groups on different facial aesthetics was significantly lower than that of laypeople, and they had higher perceived need for further treatment. On the other hand, laypeople had higher aesthetic ratings and lower perceived need for further treatment. Differences were also observed between the assessments of the professional groups. Participants who had lower aesthetic assessments of the repair tended to report a higher influence of cleft lip and palate on social activities and professional life.
Differences in perception exist between healthcare professionals and laypeople. The discrepancies between the professional groups could be attributed to different treatment modalities and protocols.