Introduction: We aimed to investigate the morphometric development of the cranial base and its related structures, and their growth rate changes from the ninth gestational week to full term in a large group of human fetuses.
Methods: We selected 203 (109 male, 94 female) fetuses between 9 and 40 weeks of gestation and without any external anomalies. From each fetus, standard lateral and posteroanterior cephalometric images were taken using a dental digital panoramic and cephalometric x-ray machine. Fourteen linear and 9 angular parameters were measured.
Results: The cranial base angle showed a statistically significant increase between the groups from only the second to the third trimester periods. The sagittal translation of the maxilla increased during the prenatal period, whereas the mandibular sagittal relation grew at a steady rate. The vertical plane angles of the maxilla and the mandible did not show any significant changes. The maxillary length to mandibular length ratio remained stable.
Conclusions: The cranial base angle increased, especially in the second through the third trimesters. The maxilla and the mandible demonstrated different growth patterns in the sagittal direction. The findings of this study could be a guide for interpreting the relationships among the craniofacial structures.
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