Comparison of the Pharyngeal Airway Volume between Non-Syndromic Unilateral Cleft Palate and Normal Individuals Using Cone Beam Computed Tomography
Statement of the Problem: Individuals with cleft lip and cleft palate mostly have airway problems. Introduction of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) and imaging software has provided the opportunity for a more precisely evaluating 3D volume of the airway.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to analyze and compare 3D the pharyngeal airway volumes of cleft palate patients with normal individuals using CBCT.
Materials and Method: 30 complete cleft palate patients were selected from the Department of Orthodontics; Dental University (Shiraz, Iran) who had CBCT scans of the head. The control group included 30 individuals with Class I angle occlusion who were matched for age and gender with the experimental group. ITK-SNAP 2.4.0 PC software was used to build 3D models of the airways for the subjects and measuring airway volumes. The statistical analyses were performed using SPSS software (version 19). Mann-Whitney test was adopted with p< 0.05 as statistical significance.
Results: The average volume of the pharyngeal airway of cleft group was 18.6 cm3, with mean volumes of 6.8 cm3 for the superior component and 11.3 cm3 for the inferior component. The total and superior airway volume of cleft group were significantly lower than non-cleft groups (p= 0.008, p= 0.00, respectively) but the inferior airway volumes were not significantly different between the cleft and non-cleft groups. There was a significant and positive correlation between superior airway volume and inferior airway volume in cleft palate patients (r=+0.786, p< 0.001) and control group (r=+0.575,p= 0.001).
Conclusion: 3D analysis showed that the nasal and total airway was restricted in individuals with cleft palate but the inferior airway was not compromised in these individuals. This would be a crucial data to be considered for surgeons during surgical planning.