The morphological features and developmental changes of the philtral dimple: A guide to surgical intervention in cases of cleft lip

Naoko Kishi, Susumu Tanaka, Seiji Iida, Mikihiko Kogo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study was undertaken to analyse in detail the morphological features of the philtral dimple and the developmental changes of philtral morphology, including a comparison with patients with a cleft lip. Patients and participants: Fifty-five normal Japanese adults, seventy-five children and fifteen patients with complete unilateral cleft lip were referred for analysis. Design: 3D facial data were acquired with a non-contacting laser scanner. We calculated the desired linear and angular components, defining the features of the philtrum with analysing software. Results: The philtral dimple was morphologically expressed by the two different deepest points in the horizontal and sagittal sectional view, respectively. These decreased with age and did not show any correlation. In contrast, philtral measurements on the X-Y coordinates increased during the course of development. Most of the linear and angular variables in the patients with the cleft lip had exhibited greater values than the normal subjects, reflecting the deformed philtral morphology. Conclusions: To obtain an optimally natural philtral construction accompanied by a symmetrical lip in cleft surgery, it is critical to take into consideration both the geometric features of the philtral depth and age-appropriate morphological features of the philtrum as objective criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2012



  • Cleft lip
  • Laser scanner
  • Morphology
  • Philtral depth
  • Philtrum
  • Three-dimensional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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