Craniometric and Velopharyngeal Assessment of Infants With and Without Cleft Palate

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Background:The current study was designed to obtain qualitative and quantitative information of the velopharyngeal mechanism and craniometric dimensions in infants born with a normal mechanism and in infants with an unrepaired cleft palate.Materials and Methods:Clinical magnetic resonance imaging data were obtained from the medical charts of 4 infants (2 with cleft lip and palate and 2 without) between the ages of 8 and 9 months. Craniometric measures and levator veli palatini muscle morphology were analyzed using visualization modeling software. Both raw measures and measures normalized by head circumference were examined.Results:Patients 1 and 2 demonstrated normal velopharyngeal anatomy and a similar distance between levator muscle origins (38.9-40.7 mm), sagittal angles of origin (56-57 degrees), and levator muscle bundle lengths (28.4-30.7 mm). Patients with an unrepaired cleft palate displayed smaller oblique coronal angles of origins (58-62 degrees) compared with patients without cleft palate (62-67 degrees). Patients without cleft palate showed a steeper muscle (56-57 degrees) compared with patients without cleft palate (66-67 degrees). The basion-sella-nasion angle, hard palate length, and hard palate width measurements are related systematically to head circumference in this patient group.Discussion:Results from the current study are in agreement with previous studies demonstrating variations across patients with cleft palate particularly in the muscle bundle lengths, distance between muscle origins, velar thickness, and velar length. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine how levator muscle and craniometric dimensions vary between those with and without cleft palate. A larger sample size is necessary to provide statistical analysis.

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