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Sleep Disord. 2019 Mar 3;2019:8509820. doi: 10.1155/2019/8509820. eCollection 2019.

Multislice Computed Tomography Assessment of Airway Patency Changes Associated with Mandibular Advancement Appliance Therapy in Supine Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

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Department of Orthodontics and Craniofacial Developmental Biology, Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Hiroshima University, 1-2-3 Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8553, Japan.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Hiroshima University, 1-2-3 Kasumi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8553, Japan.


The purpose of the present study was to measure the regional effects of the mandibular advancement appliance (MAA) on the upper airway of supine subjects with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) using multislice computed tomography (MSCT). The subjects included 8 males and 5 females who were diagnosed with mild to moderate OSA and were referred to the Orthodontic Clinic of Hiroshima University Hospital, where they underwent MAA therapy. Using a CT scanner, baseline MSCT images were obtained from the subjects without the MAA for morphological analysis, and then the experimental images were obtained while wearing the MAA. To measure the anteroposterior diameter, width, and cross-sectional area of the oropharynx region of interest (ROI), five distance variables were first defined on each multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) image using OsiriX. Additionally, the volumes of the upper airway, bony hard tissue, and soft tissue (soft palate and tongue) in the oro-hypopharyngeal region were measured. In most of the assessed airway size variables, significant increases in the anteroposterior diameter and width were observed after MAA therapy. Regarding the upper airway cross-sectional area, all the upper airway size variables exhibited significant increases. In the volumetric analysis, a significant increase was observed in airway volume, whereas the soft tissue volume in the oro-hypopharyngeal region did not show the significant decrease after MMA therapy. However, from a different point of view, the volumes of the upper airway and soft tissue significantly increased and decreased, respectively, as demonstrated by the calculated ratio for the oro-hypopharyngeal region. We demonstrated that the proportional size of the soft tissue volume, i.e., the soft palate and tongue in the oro-hypopharyngeal region, significantly decreased during use of an MAA. This forward displacement of the soft tissue thereby increases the retroglossal airway space (except the nasopharynx) three-dimensionally.

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