Objective: To compare morphological and positional variations of the hyoid bone in unoperated infants with cleft lip and palate (CL/P) with those in noncleft infants.
Design: Retrospective, cross sectional.
Patients and methods: Three-dimensional computed tomography scans were obtained from 29 unoperated CL/P infants of Malay origin aged between 0 and 12 months and from 12 noncleft infants in the same age range. Observations were made and measurements were obtained with a software package developed at the Australian Craniofacial Unit. The sizes of the hyoid bones and the position of the hyoid body and epiglottis in relation to the cervical spine were measured. Anatomical anomalies of the hyoid and prevalence of aspiration pneumonia were also documented.
Results: The hyoid bones and epiglottis were found to be located more inferiorly in CL/P infants compared with the noncleft infants. Also, 17% (5/29) of the CL/P infants had nonossified hyoid bodies.
Conclusion: The results suggest that there are differences in the location and genesis of the hyoid bone in infants with CL/P that warrant further investigation.