Journal Article

The role of lateral cephalometric radiography and fluoroscopy in assessing mandibular advancement in sleep-related disorders

JM Battagel, PR L'Estrange, P Nolan and B Harkness

in The European Journal of Orthodontics

Published on behalf of European Orthodontics Society

Volume 20, issue 2, pages 121-132
Published in print April 1998 | ISSN: 0141-5387
Published online April 1998 | e-ISSN: 1460-2210 | DOI:
The role of lateral cephalometric radiography and fluoroscopy in assessing mandibular advancement in sleep-related disorders

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Mandibular advancement splints are successful in managing obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in selected subjects. For these to be effective, some improvement in the dimensions of the oropharyngeal airway must occur. Twenty subjects with proven obstructive sleep apnoea were examined using lateral cephalometric radiography and a fluoroscopic technique. Cephalograms were analysed, and assessed for both skeletal and soft tissue abnormalities known to be present in OSA subjects. On the basis of these, a prediction was made as to whether the subject's oropharyngeal airway would increase during mandibular protrusion. From the fluoroscopic sequences, the narrowest antero-posterior dimensions of the post-palatal and post-lingual airways were recorded as the mandible moved from the intercuspal position into maximal protrusion. The changes in airway size were noted and these were compared with the predictions made from the static films.

In nine subjects, fluoroscopy indicated that the airway opened well during mandibular protrusion, seven did not improve and in four the changes were minimal. Post-palatally the mean airway increase was 2.6 mm, whilst behind the tongue a mean improvement of 3.1 mm was seen. In all but two instances, the cephalometric prediction agreed exactly with the outcome demonstrated by fluoroscopy. All subjects whose airways clearly increased were correctly identified by the cephalogram alone. Cephalometric features associated with a good airway response to protrusion were a reduced lower facial height, low maxillomandibular planes angle and a high hyoid position, accompanied by a normal antero-posterior relationship of the jaws, relatively normal mandibular body length and soft palate area. The more abnormal the skeletal and soft tissue dimensions, the poorer the prognosis.

Thus, whilst a single radiograph could indicate whether a positive mandibular response to protrusion could be expected, where doubt existed, a fluoroscopic analysis could provide a useful adjunct to diagnosis.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics

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