Cleft & Craniofacial Team at St. Mary's

804-287-7396

Pierre Robin sequence

Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) is a disorder in which a baby is born with a small lower jaw (mandible), which may cause the tongue to fall back into the mouth and block the airway, and may lead to difficulty breathing. This condition sometimes also causes the baby to have a U-shaped cleft palate (open roof of mouth).

Causes

Pierre Robin sequence happens during a series of events during the child’s development as an embryo (that is why it is called a sequence). The cause of these events is unknown.

Treatment

The most important goal in treatment of Pierre Robin sequence is making sure the child is able to breathe adequately. This can be achieved by position changes, placement of nasal trumpets (tubes that keep the airway open), tongue-lip adhesion surgery, mandibular distraction or tracheostomy. It will also be important to make sure the child is able to feed without difficulty. Our speech pathologist and feeding specialist will help your child every step of the way during this process.

The cleft palate is usually surgically repaired around 12 months of age. The timing of this surgery will depend on the child’s breathing and your surgeon. Your child may also need ear tubes placed, which will be determined by your child’s ENT surgeon. Your child will be followed by all the members of our dental team over the course of your child’s life.

To learn more about Pierre Robin sequence, please call 804-287-7396 to speak with our nurse coordinator, Linda Shait, RN.