Rapid maxillary expansion for the treatment of nasal obstruction in children younger than 12 years

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 Jan;135(1):22-7. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2008.521.


Objective: To assess short- and long-term effects of rapid maxillary expansion (RME) on nasal flow in young children. Since RME has been reported to positively influence nasal obstruction in subjects with respiratory problems by reducing nasal resistance, a similar efficacy of RME could be expected in children with deciduous and/or mixed dentition who are affected by maxillary constriction and nasal obstruction from a different cause.

Design: Prospective study of children younger than 12 years, with different grades of malocclusion and oral breathing. Data included active anterior rhinomanometry in both the supine and orthostatic positions, as well as radiographic cephalometric measurements.

Setting: Tertiary care university hospital. Data were prospectively collected from 2005 to 2007.

Patients: Nasal flow and resistance were measured in 65 children younger than 12 years, with mixed or deciduous dentition and different grades of malocclusion and oral breathing.

Main outcome measure: Efficacy of RME for resolution of maxillary constriction.

Results: After RME, an improvement of nasal flow and resistance has been recorded in patients, in the supine position, who presented both anterior and posterior obstruction. Less notable changes were shown in isolated forms of obstruction and in the orthostatic position.

Conclusion: In cases of maxillary constriction and nasal airway obstruction, RME has proved to be efficient for the improvement of nasal respiration in children via a widening effect on the nasopharyngeal cavity.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malocclusion / epidemiology
  • Malocclusion / therapy*
  • Maxilla*
  • Nasal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Nasal Obstruction / epidemiology
  • Nasal Obstruction / therapy*
  • Orthodontic Appliance Design*
  • Otolaryngology / instrumentation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rhinomanometry