Cleft and Craniofacial Center
Hasbro Children's Hospital

Pierre Robin Sequence

Some infants are born with a small lower jaw, which can affect the child’s ability to breathe normally. This is called Pierre Robin sequence (PRS). Often, the infant will also have a cleft palate, a separation in the roof of the mouth that can start in the back of the palate or just behind the gum line. The palate is important for normal feeding and speech.

Baby with Pierre Robin Sequence

Treating Pierre Robin Sequence

All patients with Pierre Robin sequence are evaluated with a thorough multi-disciplinary assessment, including the otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat physician), plastic surgeon, and/or breathing specialist.

Pictured here are before and after photos of a baby girl’s mandibular distraction.

When less intrusive measures fail to improve your child’s breathing and feeding difficulties, surgery may be required. Most children who have Pierre Robin sequence benefit from a procedure called distraction osteogenesis, in which the bones of the jaw are cut and lengthened with the use of a metal device that gradually stretches the jaw over the course of about two weeks. 

This helps reposition the tongue, improving your baby’s ability to breathe.

Learn more about the Cleft and Craniofacial Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital