Original Article

Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 55-68

First online:

The Effect of Posture and a Mandibular Protruding Device on Pharyngeal Dimensions: A Cephalometric Study

  • Anette M. C. FranssonAffiliated withDepartment of Stomatognathic Physiology, Postgraduate Dental Education CenterDepartment of Stomatognathic Physiology, Postgraduate Dental Education Center Email author 
  • , Björn A. H. SvensonAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Central Hospital
  • , Göran IsacssonAffiliated withAstraZeneca

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The objectives were to evaluate the impact of body posture on cephalometric measures and the level and the extent to which treatment with a mandibular protruding device (MPD) affects pharyngeal width. The study was composed of 77 patients: 50 were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and 27 snored. After each patient underwent a baseline medical (including a somnographic registration), dental and stomatognathic examination, an MPD that would protrude the mandible 75% of the maximal protrusion range was fabricated. In a radiographic examination, four cephalograms were taken: two in the upright position with and without the MPD and two in the supine position with and without the MPD. The cephalometric measures focused on the pharyngeal structures. MPD treatment significantly increased the relative pharyngeal area (at the level of the oropharynx and the hypopharynx) by a mean of +89.6 mm2 (P < 0.01) in the upright posture. The relative pharyngeal area, however, was reduced by more than 50% in the supine position compared with the upright position, independent of MPD treatment. In the supine position, compared with upright, most pharyngeal measures decreased significantly; the hyoid was significantly lower and displaced posteriorly, and the area of the velum increased by a mean of +201.2 mm2 (P < 0.001). We conclude that the MPD significantly increased most pharyngeal measures except the linear distance between the hyoid bone and the third vertebra and decreased the area of the velum.


Cephalogram posture oral appliance obstructive sleep apnea snoring