Three-dimensional volumetric changes in the airway of growing unilateral complete cleft lip and palate patients after bone-anchored maxillary protraction

Ralph Steegman, Adriaan Schoeman, Arjan Dieters, Bert Jongsma, Johan Jansma, Joerd van der Meer, Yijin Ren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: This prospective controlled study evaluates volumetric, length, and average cross-sectional area (aCSA) airway changes in growing patients with unilateral complete cleft lip and palate after 1.5 years of bone-anchored maxillary protraction therapy.

Methods: Thirty-five growing unilateral complete cleft lip and palate patients with maxillary deficiency were included (aged 11.3 ± 0.5 years). Cone-beam computed tomography scans were obtained before bone-anchored maxillary protraction (BAMP) therapy and after 1.5 years. A growing group without cleft (n = 18) patients served as a control group at 1.5 years posttreatment (aged 13.1 ± 1.2 years). Volumetric, length, and aCSA changes of the total airway, nasopharynx (NP), middle pharynx, and inferior pharynx airway were evaluated.

Results: After 1.5 years of BAMP therapy, a significant increase was observed in the total airway volume and the NP (P <0.01). The middle and inferior pharynx showed an insignificant tendency of volumetric increase. Compared with the control group, a significantly larger airway volume could be observed in the total airway and NP (P <0.05). The aCSA of the NP increased significantly compared with pretreatment.

Conclusions: The total airway and NP volumes significantly increased in growing subjects with cleft lip and palate after 1.5 years of BAMP therapy to a level comparable to a control group without cleft. Volumetric increase in the NP in the BAMP group is mainly attributed to the increase in its cross-sectional area. BAMP can therefore be recommended as an effective therapy for patients with cleft lip and palate with positive effects on airway development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican journal of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8-Sep-2022

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