Critical role of myofascial reeducation in pediatric sleep-disordered breathing

Sleep Med. 2013 Jun;14(6):518-25. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2013.01.013. Epub 2013 Mar 21.


Background: Limited studies suggest that pubertal development may lead to a recurrence of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) despite previous curative surgery. Our study evaluates the impact of myofunctional reeducation in children with SDB referred for adenotonsillectomy, orthodontia, and myofunctional treatment in three different geographic areas.

Methods: A retrospective investigation of children with polysomnographic analysis following adenotonsillectomy were referred for orthodontic treatment and were considered for myofunctional therapy. Clinical information was obtained during pediatric and orthodontic follow-up. Polysomnography (PSG) at the time of diagnosis, following adenotonsillectomy, and at long-term follow-up, were compared. The PSG obtained at long-term follow-up was scored by a single-blinded investigator.

Results: Complete charts providing the necessary medical information for long-term follow-up were limited. A subgroup of 24 subjects (14 boys) with normal PSG following adenotonsillectomy and orthodontia were referred for myofunctional therapy, with only 11 subjects receiving treatment. Follow-up evaluation was performed between the 22nd and 50th month after termination of myofunctional reeducation or orthodontic treatment if reeducation was not received. Thirteen out of 24 subjects who did not receive myofunctional reeducation developed recurrence of symptoms with a mean apnea-hypopnea index (AHI)=5.3±1.5 and mean minimum oxygen saturation=91±1.8%. All 11 subjects who completed myofunctional reeducation for 24 months revealed healthy results.

Conclusion: Despite experimental and orthodontic data supporting the connection between orofacial muscle activity and oropharyngeal development as well as the demonstration of abnormal muscle contraction of upper airway muscles during sleep in patients with SDB, myofunctional therapy rarely is considered in the treatment of pediatric SDB. Absence of myofascial treatment is associated with a recurrence of SDB.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myofunctional Therapy / methods*
  • Orthodontics
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Polysomnography
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / surgery*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / therapy*
  • Tonsillectomy