Micrognathia

Also known as: mandibular hypoplasia.

What is micrognathia?

Micrognathia is the medical term for an undersized jaw. It may be present along with other birth defects and facial abnormalities, and it can cause difficulty with an infant’s feeding and breathing.

What causes micrognathia? 

Micrognathia can occur as an isolated finding or may occur in the presence of other anomalies such as cleft lip or cleft palate. The cause of micrognathia is often unknown but can be caused by an underlying genetic condition especially if the child has other anomalies.

What are the signs/symptoms of micrognathia?

Along with a small jaw, infants may have trouble feeding, poor weight gain, failure to thrive, difficulty breathing and short periods of  temporarily “ stopping to breathe (apnea)”  during sleeping.

What are micrognathia care options? 

Most infants with micrognathia can be managed by placing  the baby on the stomach or side to sleep and feeding the baby in an upright position.  Occasionally the baby may need a special tube inserted through the infant's nose (nasopharyngeal tube) which opens the air passages or special accommodations for feeding. For infants who cannot be managed conservatively, a number of surgical procedures are available.


Reviewed by: Mislen S Bauer, MD

This page was last updated on: 4/6/2018 8:19:00 AM

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