Predictive Soft Tissue Airway Volume Analysis in Mandibular Distraction: Pushing The Envelope in Surgical Planning for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

J Craniofac Surg. 2016 Jan;27(1):181-4. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000002342.


Three-dimensional computed tomography has been used in both preoperative planning of mandibular distraction osteogenesis and in the evaluation of postoperative resolution of tongue-based airway obstruction. The authors present a case report using software to predict postdistraction airway volume during virtual surgical planning (VSP) of mandibular distraction osteogenesis in a 7 year old. The predicted increase in airway volume derived from VSP was 33.57% (1716 mm(3) preoperatively to 2292 mm(3) postvirtual distraction). Based on the three-dimensional computed tomography, the actual airway volume increased to 2211 mm(3) postoperatively, a 28.85% increase.The implications of this advancing technology are far-reaching. An illustrative case is presented herein to demonstrate the efficacy of the airway prediction and its limitations. The authors believe that, with continued investigation, this novel approach may be a standard feature of all VSP sessions for the treatment of tongue-based airway obstruction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / surgery
  • Anatomic Landmarks / pathology
  • Child
  • Computer Simulation
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Internal Fixators
  • Male
  • Mandible / pathology
  • Mandible / surgery*
  • Mandibular Advancement / instrumentation
  • Mandibular Advancement / methods
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Oropharynx / pathology
  • Osteogenesis, Distraction / instrumentation
  • Osteogenesis, Distraction / methods*
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Tongue / pathology
  • Tongue / surgery
  • User-Computer Interface*