According to a study published online by JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, patients that suffer from a severe case of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are more likely to experience a greater benefit from maxillomandibular advancement surgery.
The results of maxillomandibular advancement surgery are to expand the upper portion of the patient’s airway by physically altering the facial skeletal framework. This type of surgery, although effective, may seem more invasive than other treatment options that could be offered if OSA is discovered early in life.
The AAPMD believes early intervention in one’s life, through a collaborative and comprehensive approach, will help promote better facial skeletal growth and development of one’s airway. An obstructive airway can not only lead to health concerns but if left untreated, may require more invasive treatments, such as facial skeletal surgery, later in life.
Today, there are many treatment options for improving a patient’s facial skeletal framework. Likewise, there are many causes as to why a patient suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment option chosen to correct one’s facial skeletal framework disorder will entirely depend on the cause of the problem.
Treatment options may include orthodontic expansion techniques, proper nutrition and eating habits, or the removal of restricted frenums. Some patients may benefit from myofunctional therapy, which seeks to improve muscle tone and function by using a series of mouth exercises as therapy to retrain the facial and oral muscles. Treatments for allergies and overgrown tonsil or adenoids, which help establish better nasal breathing, are also effective therapeutic interventions for OSA. If an obstructed airway is discovered early on in a child’s life, many of these therapeutic interventions have proven to be successful at treating the child’s OSA and related symptoms. The AAPMD believes a healthy airway is important for one’s overall health and an airway disorder should not be ignored.
By providing the full and necessary treatment for each child, these patients will experience better breathing and proper airway growth, possibly reducing the likelihood of requiring maxillomandibular advancement surgery later on in life. Children should undergo a sleep evaluation early on if sleep apnea is suspected. Early intervention is key when it comes to treating an obstructive airway disorder.
Maxillomandibular Advancement for Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Meta-analysis. (2015, November). JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery, 1-9. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26606321