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Clin Chest Med. 1998 Mar;19(1):33-54.

Upper airway imaging.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, USA.


Upper airway imaging is a powerful technique to study the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis, biomechanics, and efficacy of treatment options in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Imaging studies have provided significant insight into the static and dynamic structure, and function of the upper airway and surrounding soft-tissue structure during wakefulness and sleep. Upper airway imaging modalities primarily include nasopharyngoscopy, cephalometrics, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance (MR) scanning. These imaging modalities have been used to study the effect of respiration, weight loss, dental appliances, and upper airway surgery on the upper airway. MR imaging and CT have allowed quantification of the airway and surrounding soft-tissue structures in three dimensions. Clinical indications for upper airway imaging are evolving for patients being treated with dental appliances and upper airway surgery.

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