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Rapid Maxillary Expansion is an effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Craniofacial Orthopedics, Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
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The Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome can be greatly diminished using Rapid Maxillary Expansion

Childhood obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is an important risk factor for childhood developmental disorders, metabolic disorders and inflammation. 1.2 to 5.8% of the general pediatric population have OSAS. OSAS can have different levels of severity that could give rise to long term effects on children including alterations in behavior and neurocognitive deficits. These deficits affect attention, learning and memory as well as executive and motor functions.

A review by the Department of Health, Life and Environmental Science, University of L’Aquila and the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy showed rapid maxillary expansion (RME) as an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). The review studied OSAS in children less than 18 years-old who did and did not have their tonsils removed. Rapid Maxillary Expansion decreased the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) by 66.1%.

The Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) is the sum of the number of apneas (pauses in breathing) plus the number of hypopneas (periods of shallow breathing) that occur, on average, each hour. The AHI is calculated by dividing the number of events by the number of hours of sleep.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is when a protracted partial upper airway obstruction (hypopnea) and/or an intermittent complete obstruction (apnea) occurs. Having this disorder could cause a number of disruptions to sleep. Some of these disruptions include a cessation in breathing, decrease in oxygen saturation, an increase the number of arousals, as well as severe impairments in cognitive function.

Obesity is considered to be a major cause of OSAS in adults. Whereas the abnormal growth of the tonsils is also thought to be the prime cause of childhood OSAS. Abnormal tonsil growth may decrease airflow. In literature it is seen that abnormal growth of the tonsils leads to problems related to mouth breathing, snoring, chronic sinusitis, nasal congestion, hyponasal speech. Abnormal growth of the tonsils can also cause emotional disorders and poor neurological development.

Rapid Maxillary Expansion Really Works

Over the period of 3 years, a decrease of 66.1% of AHI was detected in all of the 102 children with OSAS that underwent RME treatment. The review included those with or without having their tonsils removed. A larger AHI reduction was observed in children with small tonsils (97.7%) or no tonsils (82.4%) rather than large tonsils (56.4%). This data highlighted the importance of tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy combined with RME treatment.

In all the studies considered, a general improvement of the daytime and nighttime symptoms of OSAS after RME therapy demonstrated that rapid maxillary expansion was an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

Read the review here:


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