ABSTRACT

Objectives

To determine the three-dimensional changes of the nasal septum (NS), alveolar width, alveolar cleft volume, and maxillary basal bone following rapid maxillary expansion (RME) in consecutive patients with unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP).

Materials and Methods

A retrospective investigation was conducted based on the analysis of cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) data of 40 consecutive patients with UCLP (mean age 11.1 ± 2.2 years). Scans were acquired prior to RME (T0) and after removal of the expander (T1) before graft surgery. A three-dimensional analysis of the effects of RME on the nasal septum, alveolar width, alveolar cleft volume, and maxillary basal bone was performed.

Results

No changes in the NS deviation were observed following RME (P > .05). Significant increases of the alveolar transverse dimension were found in the anterior (14.2%; P < .001) and posterior (7.7%; P < .001) regions as well as in the volume of the alveolar cleft (19.6%; P < .001). No changes in the basal bone dimensions and morphology were observed (P > .05).

Conclusions

Following RME, no changes were observed in the NS and maxillary basal bones of patients with UCLP despite the significant gain in the anterior and posterior alveolar width and the increase of the alveolar cleft defect. Clinicians should be aware that maxillary changes following RME in patients with UCLP are restricted to the dentoalveolar region.

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Author notes

The first two authors contributed equally to this article.

a

Orthodontic Resident, Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

b

PhD Resident, Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

c

Associate Professor and Program Director, Department of Orthodontics and Director of the Craniofacial Imaging Center, School of Dental Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.

d

Assistant Professor, Department for Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

e

Associate Professor and Program Director of Orthodontics, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

f

Associate Professor, Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.