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Mandibular symmetry on posterior-anterior cephalograms of neurofibromatosis type 1 patients with facial plexiform neurofibroma.

INTRODUCTION: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an is an autosomal dominant heritable tumor predisposition syndrome.. Peripheral nerve sheath tumors (PNST) are a hallmark of NF1. Plexiform neurofibromas (PNF) are neoplasms that are characteristic of NF1, often causing disfiguring effects (e.g., on the face), and are considered precancerous lesions. Previous studies have shown that facial PNF (FPNF) have an impact on the shape of facial bones. This study examines deviations of mandibular symmetry from cephalometric reference planes considering the topography of FPNF.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The posterior-anterior (PA) cephalograms of 168 patients with NF1 were examined. We compared three groups: patients with FPNF (n=74), with disseminated cutaneous neurofibroma (DNF (n=94)), and control subjects without NF1 (n=23). The PNF group was subtyped with respect to facial PNST type and location. Typical mandibular cephalometric reference points were determined (condyle, antegonion, and menton).

RESULTS: The skeletal measurement points of the mandible in FPNF patients often differ significantly from those of the DNF group. It has been proven that typical asymmetries of the median-sagittal measurement points are indicators of PNF. Differences within the trigeminal tumor spread patterns are indicated in the measured values. A local tumor effect (PNF) on the relation of the measurement points to the reference planes is made plausible by the study results. The investigations prove that tumor type (FPNF) and the number of FPNF affected branches of the trigeminal nerve may correlate with significant deviations of mandible from symmetry on PA projections.

CONCLUSION: The presented study shows that characteristic patterns of mandibular deformity can be measured on standardized radiographs in NF1 patients with FPNF. Mandibular deformities imaged on standardized radiographs may be initial indicators of a previously unrecognized NF1. Tumor-associated alterations of the mandible should be considered in the classification systems of pathognomonic, diagnostically pioneering osseous findings in NF1. The radiological findings provide clues for planning mandibular osteotomies in NF1 patients, especially for assessing facial regions typically highly vascularized by tumor spread. Furthermore, the radiological findings are an indication of a tumor potentially invading and destroying adjacent masticatory and mimic muscle, findings that may have an influence on surgical measures (function, aesthetics, and wound healing).

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