What is it?

Micrognathia is a condition in which the lower jaw is undersized. It is a symptom of a variety of craniofacial conditions. Sometimes called mandibular hypoplasia, micrognathia may interfere with your child’s feeding and breathing.
Micrognathia is fairly common in infants, and can often corrects itself as your child grows. In some children, micrognathia can cause abnormal tooth alignment because there is not enough room in your child’s mouth for the teeth to grow.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Micrognathia

Signs & symptoms

Children with micrognathia often show signs of "failure to thrive", a term medical professionals use when children begin to fall off their growth curve. Symptoms of micrognathia can vary from child to child but may include:
* Apneic spells (a temporary stop in breathing)
* Feeding difficulties including prolonged feeding, inability to feed, and poor weight gain
* Noisy breathing
* Poor ability to sleep
In rare case, parents will report that their child turns blue (cyanosis) when feeding or sleeping due to breathing difficulties.


* child’s evaluation begin with a thorough medical history and physical exam by craniofacial specialists.
* Imaging studies such as X-rays or CT scan which help define the anatomy of the child’s jaw, face and head.
* A 16-lead polysomnogram, commonly called a sleep study, which measures the child’s breathing, brain stimulation, heart function, and oxygenation levels during sleep.
Other specialists involved in the evaluation and treatment of children with micrognathia include neonatologists, geneticists, otolaryngologists, pulmonologists and feeding specialists. Your child may be examined by a variety of specialists before a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan is made.


Most children with micrognathia are able to be treated without undergoing surgery.

Non-surgical therapies to treat micrognathia include:
* Prone positioning- If your child sleeps on his stomach, the positioning thrusts his tongue base forward and clear his airway.
* Nasopharyngeal airways- This flexible tube with a flared end can be inserted into your child’s nostril and into the nasal passageway to create an open airway.
* Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation, such as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or BiPAP (Bi-level positive airway pressure) that is managed by pulmonology for obstructive sleep apnea.
If these minimally-invasive measures do not work, your child may require surgery.

Surgical treatments for micrognathia include:
* A tongue-lip adhesion procedure, in which the base of your child’s tongue is tied to the lower jaw closer to the chin, effectively moving the tongue-base forward to clear the airway.
* A mandibular distraction osteogenesis (MDO), which makes the lower jaw larger by slowly lengthening the lower jaw bone and relieving airway obstruction.
* A tracheostomy, which creates an opening though the neck into the trachea to bypass the airway obstruction caused by a small jaw. This procedure is only rarely performed to treat micrognathia.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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