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J Craniofac Surg. 2009 Sep;20(5):1375-7. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3181ae42e4.

Cleft palate in Pfeiffer syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The frequency of associated cleft palate is known to be high in some fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2)-mediated craniosynostosis syndromes, such as Apert syndrome. However, there is little information on the frequency of palatal clefts in the FGFR2-mediated disorder, that is, Pfeiffer syndrome. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of palatal clefts in patients with Pfeiffer syndrome. The records of patients with Pfeiffer syndrome managed in our craniofacial unit were reviewed. Only patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Pfeiffer syndrome were included. Diagnostic criteria were as follows: characteristic mutations in FGFR1 or FGFR2 or, in the absence of genetic testing, clinical findings consistent with Pfeiffer syndrome as determined by a clinical geneticist or our most experienced surgeon (J.B.M.). Only 2 clefts were noted in 25 patients (8%), including 1 with a submucous cleft and 1 with an overt palatal cleft. Many patients (87%) were described as having a high-arched and narrow palate, and 1 had a low, broad palate. Nine patients were noted to have choanal atresia or stenosis. Clefting of the palate does occur in Pfeiffer syndrome but at a low frequency.

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