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Semin Plast Surg. 2012 May;26(2):76-82. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1320065.

Pierre robin sequence.

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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri.


Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) is classically described as a triad of micrognathia, glossoptosis, and airway obstruction. Infants frequently present at birth with a hypoplastic mandible and difficulty breathing. The smaller mandible displaces the tongue posteriorly, resulting in obstruction of the airway. Typically, a wide U-shaped cleft palate is also associated with this phenomenon. PRS is not a syndrome in itself, but rather a sequence of disorders, with one abnormality resulting in the next. However, it is related to several other craniofacial anomalies and may appear in conjunction with a syndromic diagnosis, such as velocardiofacial and Stickler syndromes. Infants with PRS should be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team to assess the anatomic findings, delineate the source of airway obstruction, and address airway and feeding issues. Positioning will resolve the airway obstruction in ~70% of cases. In the correct position, most children will also be able to feed normally. If the infant continues to show evidence of desaturation, then placement of a nasopharyngeal tube is indicated. Early feeding via a nasogastric tube may also reduce the amount of energy needed and allow for early weight gain. A proportion of PRS infants do not respond to conservative measures and will require further intervention. Prior to considering any surgical procedure, the clinician should first rule out any sources of obstruction below the base of the tongue that would necessitate a tracheostomy. The two most common procedures for treatment, tongue-lip adhesion and distraction osteogenesis of the mandible, are discussed.


Pierre Robin sequence; airway obstruction; distraction osteogenesis; glossoptosis; micrognathia

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