Craniofacial growth is a scientific crossroad for the fundamental mechanisms of musculoskeletal physiology. Better understanding of growth and development will provide new insights into repair, regeneration and adaptation to applied loads. Traditional craniofacial growth concepts are insufficient to explain the dynamics of airway/vocal tract development, cranial rotation, basicranial flexion and the role of the cranial base in expression of facial proportions. A testable hypothesis is needed to explore the physiological pressure propelling midface growth and the role of neural factors in expression of musculoskeletal adaptation after the cessation of anterior cranial base growth.
A novel model for craniofacial growth is proposed for: 1. brain growth and craniofacial adaptation up to the age of 20; 2. explaining growth force vectors; 3. defining the role of muscle plasticity as a conduit for craniofacial growth forces; and 4. describing the effect of cranial rotation in the expression of facial form.
Growth of the viscerocranium is believed to be influenced by the superficial musculoaponeurotic systems (SMAS) of the head through residual tension in the occipitofrontalis muscle as a result of cephalad brain growth and cranial rotation. The coordinated effects of the regional SMAS develop a craniofacial musculoaponeurotic system (CFMAS), which is believed to affect maxillary and mandibular development.
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We would like to thank Professor Manuel Chanavaz, (Oral and Maxillofacial Implantology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lille, France) for his guidance with muscle growth concepts.
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