Three-dimensional analysis of airway space and mandibular morphology in Pierre Robin sequence using cone beam computed tomography
Objectives: The Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) is defined by retromicrognathia, glossoptosis, and sleep apnea and can also be associated with cleft palate. Diagnosis, management and mandibular catch-up growth are still controversial issues in PRS patients. The aim of our retrospective study was to evaluate in three dimensions (3D) the airway space and mandibular morphology in PRS compared to a normal control group patients in the pre-orthodontic period of life. The null hypothesis was that we
... is was that we would not find a significant difference between the PRS and control group patients in oropharyngeal airway volume measurements. Material and methods: We analyzed 9 PRS patients (mean age: 8 years-old) who underwent cleft palate surgery in the first four months of life, performed by the same surgeon using the same technique. Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) was performed in these patients after local ethical committee approval. The control group consisted of 15 patients (mean age: 9 years-old) with CBCT already performed for other reasons. 3D Slicer was used in both groups for semi-automatic segmentation of the airway space. Two independent observers performed semi-automatic segmentations twice in each patient with a one- week interval between the two series of measurements. Airway volume was automatically measured using 3D Slicer. We also developed a 3D cephalometric analysis with Maxilim software in order to define a 3D mandibular morphology which consisted of 25 landmarks, 4 planes, and 23 distances. Two independent observers performed the 3D cephalometric analysis twice for each patient, with a one- week interval between the two series of measurements. Results: There was no significant difference in the intra- and inter-observer measurements between the PRS and control groups for airway space volume (p<0.05). However, there was a significant difference in the shape of the mandible between the PRS group and the control group (p<0.05). Conclusions: Vertical ramus width and mandibular global anteroposterior length were significantly lower in the PRS group. Mandibular hypoplasia could be found in PRS patients not only in the horizontal dimension. Nemesis relevance: the null hypothesis was confirmed. Moreover we failed to find exactly the same control group under 9 years-old due to radioprotection restrictions of application of cone beam CT in children.