What is Robin sequence?

Robin sequence, also known as Pierre Robin sequence,

is a combination of facial differences that are present when a baby is born and usually includes:

 

  • A small, underdeveloped lower jaw (micrognathia)

  • A tongue that is positioned further back in the mouth than normal (glossoptosis)

  • Breathing difficulty due to airway obstruction

This combination of features can lead to breathing and feeding problems early in life. As a result, some affected babies have difficulty growing and gaining weight at the expected rate. In addition, many children with Robin sequence have an opening in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate). This also affects a child's ability to feed.

Experts describe this condition as a "sequence" because they believe that as the embryo forms in early pregnancy, the underdeveloped lower jaw sets off a sequence of events that causes the other signs and symptoms. When the lower jaw does not grow properly, the tongue can prevent the palate (roof of the mouth) from closing, resulting in a cleft palate. The underdeveloped lower jaw also causes the tongue to be positioned at the back of the mouth, making breathing difficult.

Robin sequence affects 1 in 8,500 to 1 in 14,000 births, making it one of the most common facial differences.

Care for Robin sequence

The Craniofacial Program at Boston Children's Hospital offers advanced procedures to correct the defects associated with Robin sequence, including cleft palate repair. Our team includes some of the world's most experienced neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, oral and maxillofacial (jaw) specialists, dentistry professionals, psychologists and social workers; all working together to address the many needs of your child and your entire family. We will develop a customized treatment plan that meets all of your child's needs and involves you and your family at every step of the treatment.

Download the Robin sequence brochure to learn more about the condition and our approach to care.

This is not an official site of Boston Children's Hospital. For more information, visit our main site at childrenshospital.org