Purpose: Our current understanding of unilateral condylar hyperplasia (UCH) was put forth by Obwegeser. He hypothesized that UCH is 2 separate conditions: hemimandibular hyperplasia and hemimandibular elongation. This hypothesis was based on the following 3 assumptions: 1) the direction of overgrowth, in UCH, is bimodal—vertical or horizontal, with rare cases growing obliquely; 2) UCH can expand a hemimandible with and without significant condylar enlargement; and 3) there is an association between the condylar expansion and the direction of overgrowth—minimal expansion resulting in horizontal growth and significant enlargement causing vertical displacement. The purpose of this study was to test these assumptions. Patients and Methods: We analyzed the computed tomography scans of 40 patients with UCH. First, we used a Silverman Cluster analysis to determine how the direction of overgrowth is distributed in the UCH population. Next, we evaluated the relationship between hemimandibular overgrowth and condylar enlargement to confirm that overgrowth can occur independently of condylar expansion. Finally, we assessed the relationship between the degree of condylar enlargement and the direction of overgrowth to ascertain if condylar expansion determines the direction of growth. Results: Our first investigation demonstrates that the general impression that UCH is bimodal is wrong. The growth vectors in UCH are unimodally distributed, with the vast majority of cases growing diagonally. Our second investigation confirms the observation that UCH can expand a hemimandible with and without significant condylar enlargement. Our last investigation determined that in UCH, there is no association between the degree of condylar expansion and the direction of the overgrowth. Conclusions: The results of this study disprove the idea that UCH is 2 different conditions: hemimandibular hyperplasia and hemimandibular elongation. It also provides new insights about the pathophysiology of UCH.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery