Research Paper
Anatomic measures of upper airway structures in obstructive sleep apnea
World Journal of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2017,03(02) : 85-91. DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.2095-8811.2017.02.104

Determine if anatomic dimensions of airway structures are associated with airway obstruction in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients.


Twenty-eight subjects with (n = 14) and without (n = 14) OSA as determined by clinical symptoms and sleep studies; volunteer sample. Skeletal and soft tissue dimensions were measured from radiocephalometry and magnetic resonance imaging. The soft palate thickness, mandibular plane-hyoid (MP-H) distance, posterior airway space (PAS) diameters and area, and tongue volume were calculated.


Compared to controls, the OSA group demonstrated a significantly longer MP-H distance (P = 0.009) and shorter nasal PAS diameter (P = 0.02). The PAS area was smaller (P = 0.002) and tongue volume larger in the OSA group (P = 0.004). The MP-H distance, PAS measurements, and tongue volume are of clinical relevance in OSA patients.


A long MP-H distance, and small PAS diameters and area are significant anatomic measures in OSA; however the most substantial parameter found was a large tongue volume.

Cite as: Barrera Jose E., Pau Candace Y., Forest Veronique-Isabelle, et al.  Anatomic measures of upper airway structures in obstructive sleep apnea [J]. World Journal of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,2017,03(02): 85-91. DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.issn.2095-8811.2017.02.104
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Craniofacial anatomical skeletal or soft tissue dimensions of the upper airway as measured from radiologic images in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have been the focus of various studies for the last 25 years. However, the precise site of obstruction in OSA patients is still a matter of debate because different radiological methods have been used and none have been standardized.

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Anatomic measurement
Hyoid position
Tongue volume
obstructive sleep apnea
Posterior airway space