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Obstructive sleep apnoea: a cephalometric study. Part II. Uvulo-glossopharyngeal morphology

Vivat Tangugsorn, Olav Skatvedt, Olaf Krogstad, Torstein Lyberg
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejo/17.1.57 57-67 First published online: 1 February 1995


SUMMARY A comprehensive cephalometric analysis of uvulo-glossopharyngeal morphology in 100 patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and 36 controls was performed. The aberrations in the OSA patients included:

  1. Increased length, thickness, and sagittal area of palate (PM-U; SPT; SPA; P<0.001) with a more upright position (NL/PM-U; P<0.05) and 15 per cent more pharyngeal area occupation [SPA/(OPA-OA); P0.001].

  2. The contact length between the soft palate and the tongue was increased approximately two-fold (CL: P<0.001).

  3. The sagittal area of the tongue was 10 per cent larger (TA: P<0.001) despite similar length and height and 3 per cent more oral area occupation (TA/OA: P<0.05).

  4. More upright tongue position (VT/FH: P<0.05) and caudally extended tongue mass (V⊥FH: P<0.05).

  5. Decreased sagittal dimension of nasopharynx (pm-UPW: P<0.001), velopharynx (U-MPW: P<0.001) and minimum distance between the base of the tongue and the posterior pharyngeal wall (PSAmin: P<0.001).

  6. The residual oropharyngeal area (area not occupied by soft tissues) was 9 per cent less due to larger tongue and soft palate [(TA + SPA)/OPA; P<0.001].

Cephalometric analysis is highly recommended in OSA patients as one of the most important tools in diagnosis and treatment planning.