The nasomaxillary complex and the cranial base in artificial cranial deformation: relationships from a geometric morphometric study

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SummaryIntroduction:It is widely accepted that there is a relationship between the cranial base and the development of the nasomaxillary complex (NMC). The objective of the present study was to investigate the morphological relationship between these two anatomical units in skulls that have intentionally been subjected to one of two types of artificial deformity of the cranial vault [artificially deformed skulls (ADS)].Material and methods:A geometric morphometry study was performed on lateral cephalometric X-rays of three groups of crania: 32 with anteroposterior (AP) deformity, 17 with circumferential (C) deformity, and 39 with no apparent deformity.Results:The cranial base of the ADS showed marked deformity that produced a restriction of AP growth of the NMC, alterations of the roof of the orbit as a consequence of the rotation of anterior cranial fossa, and nasal protrusion. Pronounced morphological differences were found between the three groups: increased vertical development of the maxilla occurred in both ADS groups due to growth of the alveolar process, and rotation of the maxilla and displacement of the orbital rim was observed in the C group. This confirms that the posterior facial plane is regarded as an axial structure that serves as an interface between the middle cranial base and the NMC (Enlow, D.H. and Hans, M.G. (1996) Essential of Facial Growth. WB Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA).Limitations:It is important to take into account that these results have been obtained from an archaeological sample, with all the limitations that this implies such as being a small sample and with no absolute certainty regarding the use of the same type of deforming device within each group. Furthermore, this is a lateral two-dimensional study in which transverse development has not been analysed.Conclusions:Artificial modification of the shape of the vault has repercussions on the NMC that support the theory of an all-inclusive integration of the different cranial units in normal as well as in restricted development.

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