BACKGROUND: As a component of the Maintenance of Certification process from 2003 to 2019, the American Board of Plastic Surgery tracked 20 common plastic surgery operations. By evaluating the data collected over 16 years, the authors are able to examine the practice patterns of pediatric/craniofacial surgeons in the United States. METHODS: Cumulative tracer data for cleft palate repair was reviewed as of April of 2014 and September of 2019. Evidence-based medicine articles were reviewed. Results were tabulated in three categories: pearls, or topics that were covered in both the tracer data and evidence-based medicine articles; topics that were covered by evidence-based medicine articles but not collected in the tracer data; and topics that were covered in tracer data but not addressed in evidence-based medicine articles. RESULTS: Two thousand eight hundred fifty cases had been entered as of September of 2019. With respect to pearls, pushback, von Langenbeck, and Furlow repairs all declined in use, whereas intravelar veloplasty increased. For items not in the tracer, the quality of studies relating to analgesia is among the highest of all areas of study regarding cleft palate repair. In terms of variables collected by the tracer but not studied, in 2019, 41 percent of patients received more than 1 day of antibiotics. CONCLUSIONS: This article provides a review of cleft palate tracer data and summarizes the research in the field. Review of the tracer data enables cleft surgeons to compare their outcomes to national norms and provides an opportunity for them to consider modifications that may enhance their practice.
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