Three-dimensional computed tomography analysis of airway volume changes after rapid maxillary expansion

Tamara Smith, Ahmed Ghoneima, Kelton Stewart, Sean Liu, George Eckert, Stacy Halum, Katherine Kula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations


Introduction: In this retrospective study with 3-dimensional computed tomography, we evaluated airway volume, soft-palate area, and soft-tissue thickness changes before and after rapid maxillary expansion in adolescents. Another purpose was to determine whether rapid maxillary expansion caused changes in the palatal and mandibular planes and facial height. Methods: The sample comprised 20 patients who were treated with rapid maxillary expansion. Spiral tomographs were taken before and 3 months after treatment. Reliability studies were performed, and then volumetric, soft-palate area, soft-tissue thickness, and cephalometric parameters were compared on the tomographs. Intraclass correlations were performed on the reliability measurements. Before and after rapid maxillary expansion measurements were compared by using Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Spearman correlation coefficients were used to evaluate the associations among the airway volume, soft-palate area, soft-tissue thickness, and cephalometric measurements. Significance was accepted at P ≤0.05 for all tests. Results: Intraclass correlation coefficients were ≥0.90 for all reliability measures. Significant increases from before to after rapid maxillary expansion were found in nasal cavity and nasopharynx volumes, and for the measurements of MP-SN, S-PNS, N-ANS, ANS-Me, and N-Me. Significant positive correlations existed between changes in PP-SN and N-ANS, and ANS-Me and N-Me. Conclusions: Rapid maxillary expansion causes significant increases in nasal cavity volume, nasopharynx volume, anterior and posterior facial heights, and palatal and mandibular planes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-626
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthodontics

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