Does the Pharyngeal Airway Recover After Sagittal Split Ramus Osteotomy for Mandibular Prognathism?
Purpose: Mandibular setback surgery can adversely affect the pharyngeal airway. The aim of this study was to investigate changes of the pharyngeal airway at specific intervals during a 12-month period after bilateral sagittal split ramus osteotomy (BSSO) for correction of mandibular prognathism. Materials and Methods: This retrospective cohort study included patients with mandibular prognathism who underwent BSSO. The pharyngeal airway was measured at 3 different levels on lateral cephalograms: the uvula tip, the most inferior-anterior point on the body of the second cervical vertebra (low-C II), and a midanterior point on the body of the third cervical vertebra (mid-C III). The pharyngeal airway was measured preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. The measurements at each level were compared. Multivariable analysis of variance was used to measure the changes in pharyngeal airway space over time. Results: The study sample was composed of 30 patients (14 men and 16 women) who were diagnosed with mandibular prognathism. The pharyngeal airway at the uvular tip level was significantly reduced by 39% (P < .001) after surgery and was significantly improved by 26% (P < .01) from baseline at 1 month postoperatively. The pharyngeal airway at the low-C II level was significantly reduced by 27% (P < .001) after surgery and was significantly improved by 24% (P < .01) from baseline at 1 month postoperatively. The pharyngeal airway at the mid-C III level was significantly reduced by 23% (P < .001) after surgery and was improved by only 13% from baseline at 1 month postoperatively. Additional statistical changes were not noted on 3 and 6 months postoperative radiographs at all levels. The pharyngeal airway was decreased by 16, 19, and 8% from baseline at 12 months postoperatively, respectively. The upper airway length was significantly increased immediately after surgery (P < .001), but was incompletely recovered at 12 months postoperatively.