Evaluation of Protraction Face-Mask Therapy on the Craniofacial and Upper Airway Morphology in Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate

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The aim of the authors’ study was to evaluate the effects of protraction face-mask therapy on the craniofacial and upper airway morphology in patients with unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP).


Twenty-three growing UCLP patients (mean age: 8.3 + 2.4) were enrolled in the study group. Protraction face-mask in combination with Hyrax appliance was applied for the correction of anterior crossbite and maxillary insufficiency. Twenty-six patients with maxillary retrusion (mean age: 8.1 + 2.5) were evaluated as the control group. The pharyngeal airway morphology was assessed via the area measurements of upper airway structures on the lateral cephalometric radiographs.


The upper airway morphology was similar compared with the control group subjects at the beginning of the treatment. The pharyngeal airway area was increased significantly following the maxillary expansion and protraction. Nasopharyngeal area increased and the oropharyngeal area decreased significantly. There was an increase in the sagittal and vertical dimensions after the protraction therapy.


The pharyngeal morphology in both UCLP patients and control group patients was similarly improved with the protraction face-mask therapy.

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