Female adolescent craniofacial growth spurts: real or fiction? Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of the study is to determine whether the various aspects of the craniofacial complex exhibit female adolescent growth spurts. Multilevel polynomial models were used to estimate the growth curves of a mixed-longitudinal sample of 111 untreated females 10-15 years of age. To evaluate the horizontal and vertical movements of the individual landmarks relative to stable structures, the tracings were superimposed on the natural reference structures in the anterior cranial base. The horizontal and vertical growth changes of four landmarks and the changes of three traditional linear measurements were evaluated. Posterior nasal spine (PNS) moved posteriorly at a constant rate of approximately 0.12mm/year. Five measures showed changes in growth velocity (i.e. quadratic growth curves) but not adolescent growth spurts, including the anterior movements of anterior nasal spine (ANS) and pogonion (Pg), the inferior movements of gonion (Go), and the increases in ANS-PNS and condylion to pogonion (Co-Pg). Five measurements, including the inferior movements of ANS, PNS and Pg, the posterior movements of Go, and the increases of Go-Pg exhibited adolescent growth spurts. Peak growth velocities were attained between 11.4 and 12.8 years of age, approximately 0.7-1.4 years earlier in the maxilla than mandible. While the vertical aspects of craniofacial growth exhibit distinct female adolescent growth spurts, with peak rates occurring earlier in the maxilla than mandible, most horizontal aspects of craniofacial growth do not exhibit an adolescent spurt.

author list (cited authors)

  • Buschang, P. H., Jacob, H. B., & Demirjian, A.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • January 2013