Effects of rapid maxillary expansion on the cranial and circummaxillary sutures

Ahmed Ghoneima, Ezzat Abdel-Fattah, James Hartsfield, Ashraf El-Bedwehi, Ayman Kamel, Katherine Kula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine whether the orthopedic forces of rapid maxillary expansion cause significant quantitative changes in the cranial and the circummaxillary sutures. Methods: Twenty patients (mean age, 12.3 ± 1.9 years) who required rapid maxillary expansion as a part of their comprehensive orthodontic treatment had preexpansion and postexpansion computed tomography scans. Ten cranial and circummaxillary sutures were located and measured on one of the axial, coronal, or sagittal sections of each patient's preexpansion and postexpansion computed tomography scans. Quantitative variables between the 2 measurements were compared by using the Wilcoxon signed rank test. A P value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Rapid maxillary expansion produced significant width increases in the intermaxillary, internasal, maxillonasal, frontomaxillary, and frontonasal sutures, whereas the frontozygomatic, zygomaticomaxillary, zygomaticotemporal, and pterygomaxillary sutures showed nonsignificant changes. The greatest increase in width was recorded for the intermaxillary suture (1.7 ± 0.9 mm), followed by the internasal suture (0.6 ± 0.3 mm), and the maxillonasal suture (0.4 ± 0.2 mm). The midpalatal suture showed the greatest increase in width at the central incisor level (1.6 ± 0.8 mm) followed by the increases in width at the canine level (1.5 ± 0.8 mm) and the first molar level (1.2 ± 0.6 mm). Conclusions: Forces elicited by rapid maxillary expansion affect primarily the anterior sutures (intermaxillary and maxillary frontal nasal interfaces) compared with the posterior (zygomatic interface) craniofacial structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-519
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthodontics


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