Conditions + Treatments

Robin Sequence in Children

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Contact the Cleft ad Craniofacial Center

What is Robin Sequence?

Robin sequence, also known as "Pierre Robin sequence", is a combination of birth defects that usually includes:

  • A small lower jaw (mandible)
  • A tongue that is positioned further back in the mouth than normal (glossoptosis)
  • Breathing difficulty

This combination of features can lead to breathing and feeding problems and sometimes severe breathing problems early in life. As a result, some affected babies have an inability to grow and gain 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, causing breathing difficulty at birth.

Treating Robin Sequence: Why Choose Boston Children’s Hospital

Families seeking the very best care for their child come to the Craniofacial Program at Boston Children’s for our:

  • Nationally recognized care: U.S.News & World Report ranks Boston Children's Hospital higher in more specialties than any other children's hospital in the country.
  • Surgical expertise: The Craniofacial Program offers advanced procedures to correct the defects associated with this condition, including cleft palate repair. Learn more about treating Robin sequence.
  • Research and innovation: Our clinicians are involved in research that moves us closer to a better understanding of—and treatment for—all deformities of the head and face. Learn more about our craniofacial research.
  • Customized treatment: Our team will develop a customized treatment plan that meets all of your child’s needs—one that involves you and your family at every step of the treatment. Learn more about our approach to craniofacial treatment and care.
  • Team approach: Our Craniofacial Program 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. Meet our craniofacial team.

Make an Appointment

For an appointment with the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, more information or to obtain a second opinion for your child, please call us at 617-355-6309 or email

International Patients

For families residing outside of the United States, please call Boston Children's International Health Services at +01-617-355-5209.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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