Short-term preoperative nutritional intervention for cleft lip and/or palate surgery eligibility: an effectiveness evaluation in six countries

Year Published: 2021


Lancet Global Health


Shady Said, et al


Background (from article) Children with cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) are highly susceptible to malnutrition, which can restrict their ability to receive safe surgery. Ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) are an effective treatment for children with malnutrition; however, the effectiveness of short-term nutritional supplementation in preparing patients for cleft surgery has not been demonstrated. We studied the effectiveness of RUTF in transitioning malnourished patients with CL/P, who were initially ineligible for surgery, into surgical candidates.

Key Findings

Key Findings: (From article) In an average of 6 weeks with an approximate cost of US $30 per patient, RUTF transitioned over half of these patients into safe surgical candidates, making it an effective short-term preoperative nutritional intervention. Through unique partnerships, the expansion of cost-effective, large-scale nutrition programmes can play a pivotal role in ensuring those at the highest risk of living with unrepaired CL/P receive timely and safe surgical care.