The 3 Signs of Pierre Robin Syndrome

Pierre Robin Syndrome is a craniofacial disorder that afflicts newborns. While the causes are unknown, treatment services are available through surgery, and in some cases, the issues will heal themselves over time. A diagnosis is made after identifying three characteristic abnormalities. Having a greater understanding of each will help guide you as you seek treatment from a trusted professional.

  1. Small Lower Jaw

An under-developed jaw is the root cause of what’s known as the Pierre Robin sequence. The smaller mandible is the catalyst that leads to a displaced tongue and restricted breathing. The diminished jaw can cause problems while eating, though in some cases the jawbone will begin to grow normally during the child’s infancy.

  1. Glossoptosis 

Due to the smaller-sized jaw, children with Pierre Robin Syndrome will have a tongue that sits further back in their mouth, closer to the airway. Prior to any corrective procedures, it’s important to keep babies on their stomachs to prevent the tongue from falling back and restricting their breathing. If the passageway remains obstructed when the child is upright, a professional’s services will be needed to provide a short-term solution.

  1. Compromised Breathing 

This is the most immediate danger posed by this disorder, resulting from the tongue placement and the already constricted airway. The airway’s stability will determine the need for immediate correction. In addition to breathing troubles, babies that go untreated may experience:

  • Difficult eating
  • Sleep apnea
  • Ear infections
  • Reduced hearing

Since the sequence of this craniofacial defect begins with the undersized jaw, repositioning that bone to improve its location in relation to the airway is the first step in remedying all remaining issues (after the airway is stabilized, of course).

Parents may feel overwhelmed when first confronted with the details of Pierre Robin Syndrome, but understanding it physiologically can assist with the process. Fortunately, this is a manageable condition and all necessary services can be provided.

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