Relationship Between Age and Diagnosis on Volumetric and Linear Velopharyngeal Measures in the Cleft and Noncleft Populations

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The purpose of this study was to create a 3D volumetric segmentation from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the nasopharyngeal space and adenoid tissue and to examine the relationship between nasopharyngeal volume (NPV), adenoid volume, and linear measures of the velopharyngeal structures, pharynx, and vocal tract in children with and without cleft palate. A total of 24 participants including 18 typically developing children (4–8 years of age) and 6 children (4–8 years of age) with varying degrees of cleft palate were imaged using MRI. Linear and volumetric variables varied significantly based on age. Overall, NPV demonstrates a modest increase with age. Nasopharyngeal volume was positively correlated with age (P = 0.000), oronasopharyngeal volume (P = 0.000), velar length (P = 0.018), and velar thickness (P = 0.046). These variables tend to increase together. Differences in NPV between groups (bilateral cleft lip and palate, submucous cleft lip and palate, unilateral cleft lip and palate [UCLP], and noncleft) were statistically significant (P = 0.007). Participants with bilateral cleft lip and palate demonstrated greater NPVs than those with UCLP and submucous cleft palate.

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