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Sleep. 2004 Jun 15;27(4):761-6.

Rapid maxillary expansion in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

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Department of Odontological Sciences, University Tor Vergata, Rome Italy.



To evaluate the effect of rapid maxillary expansion on children with nasal breathing and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.


Recruitment of children with maxillary contraction, without of adenoid hypertrophy, with a body mass index < 24 kg/m2, with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome demonstrated by polysomnography, and whose parents signed informed consent. Otolaryngologic and orthognathic-odontologic evaluation with clinical evaluation, anterior rhinometry and nasal fibroscopy, panoramic radiographs, anteroposterior and laterolateral telecephalometry were performed at entry and follow-up.


Rapid maxillary expansion (ie, active phase of treatment) was performed for 10 to 20 days; maintenance of device (for consolidation) and orthodontic treatment on teeth lasted 6 to 12 months.


31 children (19 boys), mean age 8.7 years, participated in the study. The mean apnea-hypopnea index was 12.2 events per hour. At the 4-month follow-up, the anterior rhinometry was normal, and all children had an apnea-hypopnea index < 1 event per hour. The mean cross-sectional expansion of the maxilla was 4.32 +/- 0.7 mm. There was a mean increase of the pyriform opening of 1.3 +/- 0.3 mm.


Rapid maxillary expansion may be a useful approach in dealing with abnormal breathing during sleep.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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