Computational fluid dynamic study on obstructive sleep apnea syndrome treated with maxillomandibular advancement

J Craniofac Surg. 2009 Mar;20(2):426-30. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31819b9671.


Maxillomandibular advancement is one of the treatments available for obstructive sleep apnea. The influence of this surgery on the upper airway and its mechanism are not fully understood. The present research simulates the flow fields of narrowed upper airways of 2 patients with obstructive sleep apnea treated with maxillomandibular advancement. The geometry of the upper airway was reconstructed from computed tomographic images taken before and after surgery. The consequent three-dimensional surface model was rendered for measurement and computational fluid dynamics simulation. Patients showed clinical improvement 6 months after surgery. The cross-sectional area of the narrowest part of the upper airway was increased in all dimensions. The simulated results showed a less constricted upper airway, with less velocity change and a decreased pressure gradient across the whole conduit during passage of air. Less breathing effort is therefore expected to achieve equivalent ventilation with the postoperative airway. This study demonstrates the possibility of computational fluid dynamics in providing information for understanding the pathogenesis of OSA and the effects of its treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance / physiology
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Computer Simulation
  • Dental Occlusion
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Larynx / pathology
  • Larynx / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mandibular Advancement / methods*
  • Maxilla / surgery*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nasal Cavity / pathology
  • Nasal Cavity / physiopathology
  • Nasopharynx / pathology
  • Nasopharynx / physiopathology
  • Nose / pathology
  • Nose / physiopathology
  • Pharynx / pathology
  • Pharynx / physiopathology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polysomnography
  • Pressure
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology
  • Respiration*
  • Rheology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / pathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Work of Breathing / physiology