Thalassaemia is a public health problem in Malaysia. It is known to cause skeletal deformity. The purpose of this study was to compare the skeletal, dentoalveolar, and soft tissue features of Malay transfusion-dependent thalassaemia (TDT) patients with a Malay control group. Lateral cephalometric radiographs of 30 Malay (14 males and 16 females aged 6.4–21.8 years) TDT patients and 60 normal Malays matched for chronological age and gender were analysed and compared using an independent t-test.
The TDT group showed a similar sagittal relationship to the control group but with a significantly increased (P < 0.01) mandibular plane inclination. They also showed a significantly shorter (P ≤ 0.001) mandibular body, ramus length, and posterior face height and consequently a smaller ratio of posterior to anterior face height (P < 0.01). The upper and lower lips were significantly procumbent (P < 0.001) in the TDT group together with a significantly smaller nasolabial angle (P < 0.05). Dentoalveolar measurements showed less proclined maxillary teeth in the TDT group compared with the controls (P < 0.05). The cephalometric features of Malay TDT patients were characterized by a mild Class II skeletal pattern, prominent vertical growth direction of the mandible, and protruded upper and lower lips.