Age- and sex-related growth patterns of the craniofacial complex in European children aged 3–6 years

Janina Tutkuviene, Cristina Cattaneo, Zuzana Obertová, Melanie Ratnayake, Pasquale Poppa, Arunas Barkus, Kerstin Khalaj-Hedayati, Inge Schroeder, Stefanie Ritz-Timme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Craniofacial growth changes in young children are not yet completely understood. Up-to-date references for craniofacial measurements are crucial for clinical assessment of orthodontic anomalies, craniofacial abnormalities and subsequent planning of interventions. Aim: To provide normal reference data and to identify growth patterns for craniofacial dimensions of European boys and girls aged 3–6 years. Subjects and methods: Using standard anthropometric methodology, body weight, body height and 23 craniofacial measurements were acquired for a cross-sectional sample of 681 healthy children (362 boys and 319 girls) aged 3–6 years from Germany, Italy and Lithuania. Descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients, percentage annual changes and percentage growth rates were used to analyse the dataset. Results: Between the ages of 3–6 years, craniofacial measurements showed age- and sex-related patterns independent from patterns observed for body weight and body height. Sex-related differences were observed in the majority of craniofacial measurements. In both sexes, face heights and face depths showed the strongest correlation with age. Growth patterns differed by craniofacial measurement and can be summarised into eight distinct age- and sex-related patterns. Conclusion: This study provided reference data and identified sex- and age-related growth patterns of the craniofacial complex of young European children, which may be used for detailed assessment of normal growth in paediatrics, maxillofacial reconstructive surgery and possibly for forensic age assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-519
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Human Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


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