Mayo Clinic Research Look at Cleft Palate Repair Technique in Dogs

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently reported that their studies in dogs of a procedure designed to fix cleft palate suggests the technique shows promise.

Cleft palate is a relatively common birth defect where a child is born with a gap in the roof of the mouth — it affects about 700 to 1,000 newborns annually in the United States

The researchers at the Mayo Clinic used dogs to study a process called distraction osteogenesis, “a procedure that uses the mechanical force of an appliance to lengthen soft tissue and bone” according to Science Daily.

Eric Moore, MD, told Science Daily,

Right now, nobody tries to close cleft palate with distraction osteogenesis. It’s used in other areas of the body and other craniofacial problems, but not in cleft palate. Before taking it to the clinic to use in people, we wanted to try it in an animal model. This study tells us that it is possible to close cleft palate with distraction osteogenesis.

Bob Teibesar, chief resident in May Clinic Department of Ortohinoloaryngology told Science Daily that the method is potentially superior to existing methods of correct a cleft palate because “it brings in bone and soft tissue to cover the opening. This has positive implications for the shape of the palate and for speech later.”

Dogs were chosen for this study due to the similarities the canine mouth shares with the human mouth.


New method to fix cleft palate shows promise in Mayo Clinic lab study. Science Daily, January 24, 2005.

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