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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 1987 Nov;92(5):381-9.

The effect of rapid maxillary expansion on nasal airway resistance.

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Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate changes in nasal resistance to airflow in persons undergoing rapid maxillary expansion and to reevaluate the responses at a 1-year follow-up. Nasal resistance measurements, assessed in four modes (natural state, anterior nares dilation with Tygon tubing, following administration of decongestant, and nares dilation with tubing and decongestant), were taken on a group of 38 patients receiving rapid maxillary expansion and compared with a control group not receiving expansion. Thirty-three of the patients were reevaluated 9 to 12 months after expansion was completed. Eighteen subjects in the control group were also reevaluated. Oral/nasal airflow rates (percent nasality) were recorded for the control group and for some of the expansion patients. Results indicated that some subjects receiving rapid maxillary expansion had a significantly higher nasal resistance than the control group. There was a significant median reduction in nasal resistance following rapid maxillary expansion, measured in the natural state only, and this appeared to be stable up to 1 year after maximum expansion was obtained. Rapid maxillary expansion appeared to effect an expansion at the anterior nares, which contributes to nasal resistance reduction. Individual variation in nasal resistance values was considerable and hence the median response for the group was not a reliable estimate of individual response. Due to the high individual response variability, rapid maxillary expansion is not a predictable means of decreasing nasal resistance.

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