Three-dimensional analyses of palatal morphology and its relation to upper airway area in obstructive sleep apnea
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Objective: To evaluate the relationship between palatal morphology and pharyngeal airway morphology in patients who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and compare with a nonsnoring and nonapneic control group. Materials and Methods: Three-dimensional maxillary dental cast measurements from 25 OSA patients (6 women, 19 men) with a mean age of 41.5 (4.8) years, and 25 control group participants (14 women, 11 men) without any symptom of OSA with a mean age of 38.3 (3.7) were correlated with an analysis of pharyngeal area evaluated with lateral cephalograms. Intermolar and intercanine widths and palatal volumes were calculated on the dental casts, and the upper airway area measurements were performed on lateral cephalograms. Results: OSA patients had smaller oropharyngeal volume and upper airway when compared with controls (P <.001). Palatal area measurements were significantly smaller in OSA (P <.001). OSA patients had significantly narrower maxilla with smaller intermolar and intercanine widths (P <.001). A positive correlation was found between the palatal morphology and pharyngeal dimensions. Conclusions: A significant correlation exists between palatal morphology and pharyngeal airway.