Variability in palatal shape and size in patients with bilateral complete cleft lip and palate assessed using dense surface model construction and 3D geometric morphometrics

J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2012 Apr;40(3):201-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcms.2011.04.013. Epub 2011 May 25.


Bilateral complete cleft lip and palate (BCLP) is the most severe of the common orofacial clefts and is associated with the greatest deformity during development. The aim of this study was to use geometric morphometrics to evaluate palatal shape and size variability in patients with BCLP in comparison to nonclefted Czech boys. The variability of palatal size and shape in BCLP patients was greater when compared with the nonclefted population. Though palate variability in BCLP was wide, nonclefted palatal shapes were generally different (a high, wide and vaulted palate) and fell almost outside the range of BCLP variability. The palatal size and shape of BCLP patients (range from 12.1 to 16.5 years) was not correlated with age. A comparison of the mean shapes of the clefted and nonclefted groups showed that the BCLP palate is flatter and narrower. The most notable size difference was found in the area between the maxilla and premaxilla. This phenomenon is associated with the persisting separation of the premaxilla from the rest of the palate. The shape of the palatal configuration of the premaxilla and adjacent area was concave in the nonclefted group and convex in BCLP patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anatomic Landmarks / pathology
  • Cephalometry / methods*
  • Child
  • Cleft Palate / pathology*
  • Cleft Palate / therapy
  • Dental Models
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Lasers
  • Male
  • Maxilla / pathology
  • Orthodontics, Corrective / methods
  • Palate / pathology*
  • Principal Component Analysis / methods
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Surgical Flaps