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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998 Nov;119(5):476-85.

Skeletal expansion combined with soft-tissue reduction in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea in children: physiologic results.

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Center for Craniofacial Disorders, Scottish Rite Children's Medical Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Twenty consecutive children, ranging in age from 6 days to 18 years, were treated with skeletal expansion, in addition to soft-tissue reduction, for medically refractory obstructive sleep apnea. The underlying diagnoses were craniofacial microsomia (n = 6), Down syndrome (n = 3), Pierre Robin syndrome (n = 3), cerebral palsy (n = 3), Nager's syndrome (n = 1), Treacher Collins syndrome (n = 1), cri du chat syndrome (n = 1), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (n = 1), and temporomandibular joint ankylosis (n = 1). Fourteen children had severe medically refractory sleep apnea and were tracheostomy candidates; in the remaining six, tracheostomies were placed shortly after birth and could not be decannulated. Overnight, 12-channel polysomnography was obtained before and after surgery. The mean apnea index improved from 7.42 to 1.26, the mean respiratory disturbance index improved from 25.24 to 1.72, and the mean lowest apnea-related oxygen saturation improved from 68% to 88%. Of the 14 children with medically refractory obstructive sleep apnea, two required tracheostomies. Of the six patients with tracheostomies, five have been decannulated at the time of this writing. Skeletal expansion in conjunction with soft-tissue reduction in the pediatric population permits substantial increases in the volume of both the nasopharynx and oropharynx. Creative use of conventional osteotomies and the application of distraction osteogenesis have enabled surgeons to apply maxillofacial and craniofacial techniques in treating children with obstructive sleep apnea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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