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Children with micrognathia, also known as mandibular hypoplasia, have a lower jaw that's too small and retruded. Some babies born with this condition also have a cleft palate. Micrognathia is a fairly common condition. Some infants born with a small lower jaw will find that it eventually grows to normal size.
Some babies with micrognathia may have medical conditions such as:
There are many more rare conditions with micrognathia as a clinical feature. These will be assessed based on your child's presentation.
Micrognathia can be inherited, meaning it's passed down from a parent. It can also occur due to a change in the genes associated with a genetic condition or for an unknown reason.
Other causes are:
Sometimes children with this condition have a hard time breathing and eating. This is because the small jaw pushes the tongue back into the throat causing obstruction of the airway. If this is severe and present at birth, these individuals are typically admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for comprehensive evaluation and treatment.
Your child may have significant micrognathia if they:
Some micrognathia cases are diagnosed before the baby is born, during a mother's routine ultrasound exams. Otherwise, the condition can usually be diagnosed on sight after birth, meaning your doctor may simply notice that your baby's jaw looks smaller than normal. If your child has a small jaw, their doctor will perform a full physical examination, including looking inside their mouth.
Some tests may be needed in order to determine how serious the condition is. These tests may include:
Your child may need to be evaluated by several specialists, including a craniofacial surgeon, an otolaryngology (ENT) surgeon, a genetic specialist, and a speech pathologist who is also a feeding specialist.
Your child's treatment at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh will be guided by the severity of their condition. While some children grow out of their micrognathia, they may need extra care in the meantime. If your child has more severe problems, like breathing and feeding issues, they'll need to be treated in infancy so their growth, development, and safety aren't affected. This care in infancy is typically provided in the NICU and involves a team of specialists.
Some of the methods we used to treat micrognathia include:
If other, more conservative measures aren’t successful, surgical interventions may be required. These can include one of the following based on the child’s needs:
To make an appointment or learn more about our program, call us at 412-692-8650.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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