Journal Article

Foetal alcohol syndrome: a cephalometric analysis of patients and controls

Sudeshni Naidoo, Angela Harris, Sonja Swanevelder and Carl Lombard

in The European Journal of Orthodontics

Published on behalf of European Orthodontics Society

Volume 28, issue 3, pages 254-261
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 0141-5387
Published online April 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2210 | DOI:
Foetal alcohol syndrome: a cephalometric analysis of patients and controls

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Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) consists of multi-system abnormalities and is caused by the excessive intake of alcohol during pregnancy. The teratogenic effect of alcohol on the human foetus has now been established beyond reasonable doubt and FAS is the most important human teratogenic condition known today. The purpose of this study was to analyse the craniofacial parameters of children with FAS and compare them with matched controls.

Ninety children diagnosed with FAS (45 males, 45 females) and 90 controls were matched for age, gender, and social class. The mean age of the FAS children was 8.9 years with the controls slightly older at 9.1 years. This age difference was not significant (P = 0.34). A standard lateral cephalometric radiograph of each subject was taken. The radiographs were digitized for 20 linear and 17 angular measurements. These 37 variables were formulated to assess the size, shape, and relative position of three craniofacial complexes: (1) the cranial base, (2) midface, and (3) mandible. In addition, nine variables were computed to compare the soft tissue profiles.

The study showed that measurements related to face height and mandibular size appear to be the most important features when distinguishing FAS children. Overall, the FAS children in the present study presented with vertically and horizontally underdeveloped maxillae, together with features of long face syndrome with large gonial angles and a short ramus in relation to total face height. There was also a tendency for the development of an anterior open bite, which appears to be compensated for by an increase in the vertical dimension of the anterior alveolar process to bring the incisor teeth into occlusion. The latter adaptation occurred mainly in the mandible.

Journal Article.  4317 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics

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