Three Dimensional Assessment of the Pharyngeal Airway in Individuals with Non-Syndromic Cleft Lip and Palate

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Children with cleft lip and palate (CLP) are known to have airway problems. Previous studies have shown that individuals with CLP have a 30% reduction in nasal airway size compared to non-cleft controls. No reports have been found on cross-sectional area and volume of the pharyngeal airway in clefts. Introduction of Cone-Beam CT (CBCT) and imaging software has facilitated generation of 3D images for assessment of the cross-sectional area and volume of the airway. OBJECTIVE: To assess the pharyngeal airway in individuals with CLP using CBCT by measuring volume and smallest cross-sectional areas and compare with 19 age- and sex-matched non-cleft controls. METHODS: Retrospective study of CBCT data of pre-adolescent individuals (N = 19, Mean age = 10.6, 7 females, 12 males, UCLP = 6, BCLP = 3) from the Center for Craniofacial Anomalies. Volumetric analysis was performed using image segmentation features in CB Works 3.0. Volume and smallest cross-sectional were studied in both groups. Seven measurements were repeated to verify reliability using Pearson correlation coefficient. Volume and cross-sectional area differences were analyzed using paired t-tests. RESULTS: The method was found to be reliable. Individuals with CLP did not exhibit smaller total airway volume and cross sectional area than non-CLP controls. CONCLUSION: 3D imaging using CBCT and CB Works is reliable for assessing airway volume. Previous studies have shown that the nasal airway is restricted in individuals with CLP. In our study, we found that the pharyngeal airway is not compromised in these individuals.

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Cheung, T., & Oberoi, S. (2012). Three Dimensional Assessment of the Pharyngeal Airway in Individuals with Non-Syndromic Cleft Lip and Palate. PLoS ONE, 7(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043405

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