Nasal airway and septal variation in unilateral and bilateral cleft lip and palate

John M. Starbuck, Michael T. Friel, Ahmed Ghoneima, Roberto L. Flores, Sunil Tholpady, Katherine Kula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Cleft lip and palate (CLP) affects the dentoalveolar and nasolabial facial regions. Internal and external nasal dysmorphology may persist in individuals born with CLP despite surgical interventions. 7-18 year old individuals born with unilateral and bilateral CLP (n = 50) were retrospectively assessed using cone beam computed tomography. Anterior, middle, and posterior nasal airway volumes were measured on each facial side. Septal deviation was measured at the anterior and posterior nasal spine, and the midpoint between these two locations. Data were evaluated using principal components analysis (PCA), multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), and post-hoc ANOVA tests. PCA results show partial separation in high dimensional space along PC1 (48.5% variance) based on age groups and partial separation along PC2 (29.8% variance) based on CLP type and septal deviation patterns. MANOVA results indicate that age (P = 0.007) and CLP type (P ≤ 0.001) significantly affect nasal airway volume and septal deviation. ANOVA results indicate that anterior nasal volume is significantly affected by age (P ≤ 0.001), whereas septal deviation patterns are significantly affected by CLP type (P ≤ 0.001). Age and CLP type affect nasal airway volume and septal deviation patterns. Nasal airway volumes tend to be reduced on the clefted sides of the face relative to non-clefted sides of the face. Nasal airway volumes tend to strongly increase with age, whereas septal deviation values tend to increase only slightly with age. These results suggest that functional nasal breathing may be impaired in individuals born with the unilateral and bilateral CLP deformity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1008
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • cone beam computed tomography
  • craniofacial morphology
  • growth and development
  • nasal obstruction
  • nose deformity
  • three-dimensional (3D) imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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    Starbuck, J. M., Friel, M. T., Ghoneima, A., Flores, R. L., Tholpady, S., & Kula, K. (2014). Nasal airway and septal variation in unilateral and bilateral cleft lip and palate. Clinical Anatomy, 27(7), 999-1008.