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Mandibular Condylar Hypoplasia

By Noshir R. Mehta, DMD, MDS, MS, Professor; Associate Dean for Global Relations; Senior Advisor, Department of Public Health and Community Servic; Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

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Mandibular condylar hypoplasia is facial deformity caused by a short mandibular ramus.

This condition usually results from trauma, infection, or irradiation occurring during the growth period but may be idiopathic. The deformity involves fullness of the face, deviation of the chin toward the affected side, an elongated mandible, and flatness of the face on the unaffected side. (The side to which the ramus is short causes muscles to appear fuller; the muscles on the unaffected side are stretched so that side appears flatter.) Mandibular deviation causes malocclusion.

Diagnosis is based on a history of progressive facial asymmetry during the growth period and x-ray evidence of condylar deformity and antegonial notching (a depression in the inferior border of the mandible just anterior to the angle of the mandible). There is frequently a causative history.

Treatment consists of surgical shortening of the unaffected side of the mandible or lengthening of the affected side. Presurgical orthodontic therapy helps optimize results.