Bilateral cleft lip and palate: A morphometric analysis of facial skeletal form using cone beam computed tomography

John M. Starbuck, Ahmed Ghoneima, Katherine Kula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Bilateral cleft lip and palate (BCLP) is caused by a lack of merging of maxillary and nasal facial prominences during development and morphogenesis. BCLP is associated with congenital defects of the oronasal facial region that can impair ingestion, mastication, speech, and dentofacial development. Using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) images, 7- to 18-year old individuals born with BCLP (n = 15) and age- and sex-matched controls (n = 15) were retrospectively assessed. Coordinate values of three-dimensional facial skeletal anatomical landmarks (n = 32) were measured from each CBCT image. Data were evaluated using principal coordinates analysis (PCOORD) and Euclidean Distance Matrix Analysis (EDMA). PCOORD axes 1-3 explain approximately 45% of the morphological variation between samples, and specific patterns of morphological differences were associated with each axis. Approximately, 30% of facial skeletal measures significantly differ by confidence interval testing (α = 0.10) between samples. While significant form differences occur across the facial skeleton, strong patterns of differences are localized to the lateral and superioinferior aspects of the nasal aperture. In conclusion, the BCLP deformity significantly alters facial skeletal morphology of the midface and oronasal regions of the face, but morphological differences were also found in the upper facial skeleton and to a lesser extent, the lower facial skeleton. This pattern of strong differences in the oronasal region of the facial skeleton combined with differences across the rest of the facial complex underscores the idea that bones of the craniofacial skeleton are integrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-592
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Euclidean Distance Matrix Analysis
  • cleft lip and palate
  • facial asymmetry
  • geometric morphometrics
  • morphological integration
  • principal coordinates analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology

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