Micrognathia, abnormally small jaw: What's it, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention


What is micrognathia?

Micrognathia – it is a medical condition, in which the lower jaw or lower face is abnormally small. This condition can vary in severity, starting from mild forms, when the anomaly is almost invisible, to more serious cases, when an underdeveloped jaw can cause breathing problems, food and even speech.

Micrognathia is the result of abnormal formation of the facial and cranial bones during embryonic development.. It is important to note, that micrognathia can be both an independent condition, or part of a wider medical syndrome or genetic abnormality.

With micrognathia, the lower jaw may be too short, small or abnormally shaped. This can lead to various problems., including altered facial appearance, breathing difficulties, food and speech, as well as limited functionality of the jaw.

Causes of micrognathia

Micrognathia can be caused by various factors, including genetic, environmental and intrauterine influences. Here are some of the most common causes of micrognathia:

  1. Genetic factors: Genetic mutations may play an important role in the development of micrognathia. Some cases of micrognathia may be associated with hereditary genetic abnormalities., that affect the formation of facial bones and jaw.
  2. Congenital anomalies: Problems in the development of the fetus in the womb can lead to micrognathia. These anomalies may occur due to various factors., such as malnutrition of the fetus, exposure to toxins, viral infections or other negative effects on the mother's body during pregnancy.
  3. Medical Syndromes: Some medical syndromes may be associated with micrognathia. For Example, Pierre-Robin syndrome, which is characterized by anomalies of the mandible and a cleft palate, may also include micrognathia.
  4. Environmental Factors: Maternal environmental exposure during pregnancy may affect fetal development. Toxins, chemical substances, drugs and other harmful effects can affect the formation of facial bones and jaw.
  5. Genetic Syndromes: Certain genetic syndromes, such as trisomy syndrome 13 and Williams syndrome, may be accompanied by micrognathia as one of the medical signs.
  6. unknown factors: In rare cases, the cause of micrognathia may remain unclear.. Doctors continue to investigate this problem to better understand the mechanisms behind the development of this condition..

Micrognathia may be part of other genetic syndromes, including:

  • crying cat syndrome
  • Hallermann-Schreiff syndrome
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Pierre Robin syndrome
  • Progeria
  • Russell-Silver Syndrome
  • Seckel syndrome
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
  • Treacher-Collins Syndrome
  • Trysomyya 13
  • Trysomyya 18
  • XO-syndrome (Syndrome Ternera)

Symptoms of micrognathia

The main symptom of micrognathia is an underdeveloped lower jaw or part of the face.. Besides, can be observed:

  • Breathing and digestion problems: Micrognathia can affect the respiratory tract and digestive system, especially in newborns.
  • Difficulties with pronunciation: Underdevelopment of the face and jaw can affect the pronunciation of sounds and speech.
  • Facial asymmetry: Facial appearance may appear asymmetrical due to micrognathia.

When to See a Doctor for Micrognathia

If you suspect micrognathia, especially in a child, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Early diagnosis and initiation of treatment can make a significant difference in prognosis.

Questions, which the doctor may ask

During a consultation with a doctor, you may come across the following questions:

  • What symptoms do you see?
  • Are there any cases of micrognathia in the family?
  • Are there breathing problems, digestion or speech?
  • Was there any environmental impact on the mother's body during pregnancy?

Diagnosis of micrognathia

Diagnosis of micrognathia includes an integrated approach, which includes a clinical examination, examination, discussing the patient's medical history and conducting various medical studies. Here are the main methods for diagnosing micrognathia:

  1. Clinical examination: The doctor conducts a visual assessment of the face and jaw of the patient. He draws attention to the anatomical features of the lower face, jaw position, shape and size. Clinical examination can help identify clear signs of micrognathia.
  2. History of pregnancy and childbirth: It is important to discuss the pregnancy history with the mother or patient, including possible risk factors, environmental impact, medication use and other important medical events.
  3. Imaging research methods: To confirm the diagnosis of micrognathia, the following tests can be performed:
    • Radiography: X-rays of the face and jaw can help identify abnormalities in bone development.
    • CT scan (CT): CT scanning provides more detailed 3D images of the structure of the face and jaw.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRT): MRI can be used to obtain more detailed images of the tissues and structures of the face and jaw.
  4. Genetic tests: In case of suspicion of genetic factors of micrognathia, genetic tests may be done to detect the presence of genetic mutations or syndromes, associated with this condition.
  5. Expert advice: case by case, you may be scheduled to consult with other medical specialists, such as genetics, a dentist, orthodontist or surgeon.
  6. Family history discussion: If the patient has an abnormal family history or other cases of micrognathia, it can help doctors understand possible genetic factors and risks.
  7. Analyzes and medical examinations: Depending on the specific situation, the doctor may prescribe additional tests, such as blood tests or other examinations, to rule out or confirm other conditions.

Diagnosis of micrognathia is a complex process, requiring the participation of experienced medical professionals. After receiving all the necessary data, doctors can develop a treatment plan, based on the individual needs of the patient.

Treatment of micrognathia

Treatment of micrognathia depends on the severity of the anomaly., the patient's age, causes of development and other factors. The goal of treatment is to improve the functionality of the jaw, ensure normal breathing, food and speech, as well as in the correction of the appearance of the face. Here are some treatments for micrognathia:

  1. Surgical intervention: In cases, when micrognathia significantly affects the functionality of the jaw or leads to severe breathing problems, food and speech, may require surgical correction. Surgery may include mandibular augmentation using implants or bone grafts, to achieve a more normal look and functionality.
  2. Orthodontic treatment: In cases, when micrognathia affects the position of the teeth and the position of the jaw, orthodontic treatment may be recommended. This may include the use of braces, plates or other devices to correct the position of the teeth and align the jaw.
  3. Rechevaya therapy: If Micrognathia Affects Speech, patients may be offered speech therapy. Speech specialists can help develop pronunciation and articulation skills to improve comprehension and communication.
  4. Physiotherapy: For children with micrognathia, physical therapy may be helpful in developing motor skills., strengthening facial muscles and improving chewing control.
  5. follow-up surveillance: In some cases, especially in children with mild micrognathia, doctors may recommend follow-up. This allows you to evaluate the natural development and growth of the jaw over time..
  6. Individual adaptations: Depending on the specific needs of the patient, customized adaptations can be provided, such as special apparatus for feeding or breathing, that will help make life easier for a patient with micrognathia.

It is important to note, that the treatment of micrognathia should be individualized and tailored to the individual patient. The decision on treatment methods is made jointly with medical specialists, taking into account all aspects of the health and needs of the patient.

Home Treatment

Micrognathia requires professional intervention, but you can also help your health, following these guidelines:

  • Healthy lifestyle: During pregnancy, it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle., including a balanced diet and the rejection of bad habits.
  • Early pregnancy: Pregnancy planning and early contact with a doctor will help reduce the risk of anomalies.

Prevention of micrognathia

Prevention of micrognathia is based on maintaining health during pregnancy and timely medical care.. It is important to monitor your health and protect the future health of the child.


Micrognathia – is a serious medical condition, requiring careful observation and, if necessary, treatment. Early diagnosis and skilled medical care can make a huge difference in a patient's life..

Used sources and literature

Campbell KH, Han CS, Abdel-Razeq SS. Imaging of the face and neck. In: Lockwood CJ, Copel JA, Dugoff L, et al. eds. Creasy and Resnik’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 21.

Enlow E, Greenberg JM. Clinical manifestations of diseases in the newborn. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, Bloom NJ, Shah SS, et al, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 119.

Hartsfield JK, Morford LA. Acquired and developmental disturbances of the teeth and associated oral structures. In: Dean JA, ed. McDonald and Avery’s Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA; 2022:chap 3.

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