Background and goals: Growth retardation is one of the most important signs of childhood celiac disease (CD); however, it is not very well known whether craniofacial growth is also affected. We aimed to carry out a detailed craniofacial morphological study to derive a conclusion on the craniofacial features of children with CD.
Participants and methods: Eighty-four 2-16-year-old children with biopsy-proven CD and 84 age-matched and sex-matched healthy children were included. Of these, 37 children (44.0%) had been newly diagnosed and 47 (56.0%) were on a gluten-free diet. Anteroposterior and lateral photographs were evaluated using the Scion Image software program for the measurements of the distances between reference points on the face.
Results: Except for nasofrontal angle (nfa), nasolabial angle (nla), pronasale height (prnh), nasal dorsum height (ndh), and nasal radix height (nrh), all measurements were significantly greater in patients compared with controls. In celiac children, all facial proportions except forehead/face height (t-gl/t-gn) and nose length/face height (n-ns/t-gn) were significantly different from those of controls. Except for nla, prnh, ndh, nrh, t-gl/t-gn, face height to total face height ratio (sn-gn/t-gn), n-sn/t-gn, ear length to face height ratio (s-sba/t-gn), and face width to face height ratio (z-z/t-gn), all measurements were statistically different in those on a gluten-free diet and newly diagnosed children.
Conclusion: Most of the facial measurements and proportions of celiac children were different from those of controls. Our data confirm those of a previous study reporting that the forehead proportion is not altered in childhood CD. Pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these alterations are not clear but disruptions of growth during certain critical periods may be responsible.