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Maxillomandibular Expansion

Click here to listen to Dr. Kasey Li explain this procedure.

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea often have narrowed jaws, resulting in displacement of the tongue toward the back of the throat, creating airway obstruction. The upper and lower jaws can be widened to improve the airway. A limited bone cut is made on the jaws to weaken them temporarily. An orthodontic device called a distractor is placed onto the jaw at the time of the surgery that incrementally expands (distracts) the jaw. After surgery the duration of the distraction process takes on average two weeks. Orthodontic treatment is required and starts about three months after the operation in order to close the spaces created between the teeth.

This operation is performed in a hospital surgery center under general anesthesia.

The surgery lasts between two and three hours.  Overnight hospitalization is usually recommended after maxillomandibular expansion. The majority of patients return to work in two to three weeks. There is a very slight change in facial appearance, but this is often a favorable change.  Speech and swallowing are not affected by this procedure.

Before Surgery  
Before Maxillary Expansion
  After Surgery
After Maxillary Expansion
Before Surgery
Before Mandibular Expansion
  After Surgery
After Mandibular Expansion



Guilleminault C, Li KK.  Maxillomandibular Expansion by Distraction Osteogenesis for the Treatment of Sleep-Disordered Breathing: Preliminary Results.  Laryngoscope; 114:893-896, 2004.

Li KK.  Surgical Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome.  Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine; 26:80-88, 2005.



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