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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2012 Feb;76(2):227-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2011.11.008. Epub 2011 Dec 2.

The nasopharynx in infants with cleft lip and palate.

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School of Dental Sciences, Health Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.



The purpose of this study was to use three-dimensional computed tomography data and computer imaging technology to assess the skeletal components of the naso-pharyngeal area in patients with cleft lip and palate and to quantify anatomical variations.


CT scans were obtained from 29 patients of Malay origin with cleft lip and palate aged between 0 and 12 months and 12 noncleft patients in the same age group, using a GE Lightspeed Plus Scanner housed in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia. Measurements were obtained using the 'Persona' three-dimensional software package, developed at Australian Craniofacial Unit, Adelaide.


The results of the present study show that there is an increased nasopharyngeal space in cleft lip and palate that may lead to compression of the nasopharyngeal structures, including the Eustachian tube. Alterations of the medial pterygoid plate and the hamulus may lead to an alteration in the origin and orientation of the tensor veli palatini muscle leading to alteration in its function.


These anatomical variations may compromise the dilatory mechanism of the Eustachian tube, thus leading to recurrent middle ear infections in cleft children and subsequent loss of hearing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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