Effects of maxillary protraction therapy on the pharyngeal airway in patients with repaired unilateral cleft lip and palate: A 3-dimensional computed tomographic study

Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2016 May;149(5):673-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2015.10.024.


Introduction: The purposes of this study were to assess the effects of maxillary protraction therapy on the pharyngeal airways in patients with repaired unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) 3 dimensionally.

Methods: Eighteen patients with repaired UCLP and anterior crossbite (ages, 10.4 ± 1.3 years) were enrolled in the study group. Hyrax appliances and reverse headgears were used. Cone-beam computed tomography volume scans were taken before and immediately after treatment. Fourteen patients (ages, 9.6 ± 1.7 years) with UCLP who did not receive orthopedic treatment served as the control group. The volumes of the pharyngeal airways, cross-sectional areas, sagittal diameters, and transversal diameters of 3 levels of airway cross-section were measured.

Results: After protraction, the volumes of the pharyngeal airway increased significantly. Cross-sectional area, sagittal diameter, and transversal diameter of the upper and lower pharyngeal airways also had significant increases. These changes were significant when compared with the untreated subjects except for the transversal diameter of the lower pharyngeal airway. Dimensions of the middle pharyngeal airway remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Maxillary protraction therapy significantly affects airway dimensions in patients with repaired UCLP 3 dimensionally.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cleft Lip / surgery*
  • Cleft Palate / surgery*
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Male
  • Malocclusion / therapy*
  • Orthodontic Appliance Design
  • Orthodontic Appliances*
  • Pharynx*