Three-dimensional evaluation of the pharyngeal airway volumes in patients affected by unilateral cleft lip and palate

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Abstract

Introduction

Patients affected by cleft lip and palate often have complaints of snoring and respiratory difficulties during sleep. The purposes of this study were to evaluate nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, and total airway volumes of patients affected by unilateral cleft lip and palate and to compare them with a well-matched control group without unilateral cleft lip and palate using cone-beam computed tomography.

Methods

The study sample consisted of 60 patients (26 girls, 34 boys) divided into 2 groups: unilateral cleft lip and palate (20 boys, 10 girls; 8 right sided, 22 left sided; mean age, 14.6 ± 3.2 years) and no cleft (control group; 14 boys, 16 girls; mean age, 14.8 ± 2.8 years). Nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, and total airway volumes of the subjects in both groups were calculated 3 dimensionally with cone-beam computed tomography. Group differences in relation to cleft side, sex, and cleft presence were statistically tested at P <0.05.

Results

Patients affected by unilateral cleft lip and palate had similar airway volumes regardless of the side of the cleft. In addition, no statistically significant differences were found between the sexes in the 2 groups. Patients affected by unilateral cleft lip and palate had smaller nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, and total airway volumes when compared with the control group. The difference for oropharyngeal airway volume (−4036.7 mm3) was statistically significant (P <0.05), whereas nasopharyngeal volume (−21.6 mm3) and total airway volume (−4057.3 mm3) differences were not significant (P <0.05).

Conclusions

Patients affected by unilateral cleft lip and palate had decreased volumes of oropharyngeal (P <0.05) and total (P <0.05) airways compared with the well-matched control group without unilateral cleft lip and palate.

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