Otocephaly: report of five new cases and a literature review

Fetal Pediatr Pathol. 2006 Sep-Oct;25(5):277-96. doi: 10.1080/15513810601123417.


Otocephaly, characterized by mandibular hypoplasia or agnathia, ventromedial auricular malposition (melotia) and/or auricular fusion (synotia), and microstomia with oroglossal hypoplasia or aglossia, is an extremely rare anomalad, identified in less than 1 in 70,000 births. The malformation spectrum is essentially lethal, because of ventilatory problems, and represents a developmental field defect of blastogenesis primarily affecting thefirst branchial arch derivatives. Holoprosencephaly is the most commonly identified association, but skeletal, genitourinary, and cardiovascular anomalies, and situs inversus have been reported. Polyhydramnios may be the presenting feature, but prenatal diagnosis has been uncommon. We present five new cases of otocephaly, the largest published series to date, with comprehensive review of the literature and an update of research in the etiopathogenesis of this malformation complex. One of our cases had situs inversus, and two presented with unexplained polyhydramnios. Otocephaly, while quite rare, should be considered in the differential diagnosis of this gestational complication.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology*
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / complications
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / pathology*
  • Ear / abnormalities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mandible / abnormalities
  • Microstomia
  • Polyhydramnios / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Tongue / abnormalities