Purpose: This study was performed to compare the dimensions of the nasopharynx, oropharnynx, and hypopharynx of persons with hyperdivergent and normodivergent facial types, and to determine whether any variations exist. Patients and Methods: Lateral cephalometric records of a population with a normodivergent facial pattern (n = 23) and a group with a hyperdivergent facial pattern (n = 27) as evidenced by increased mandibular plane angle were used to compare the soft tissue airway dimensions. Statistical analysis consisted of Student's t-tests, Wilcoxon rank sums, and χ2. Statistical significance was set .05. Results: Overall the hyperdivergent group had a narrower anteroposterior pharyngeal dimension than the normodivergent control group. This narrowing was specifically noted in the nasopharynx at the level of the hard palate and in the oropharynx at the level of the tip of the soft palate and the mandible. In addition, the posterior pharyngeal wall had a thinning at the level of the inferior border of the third cervical vertebrae, and there was a more obtuse palatal angle. The tongue was also positioned more inferiorly and posteriorly in the hyperdivergent group, as evidenced by the increased distance between the hyoid bone and the mandibular plane and the increased distance between the soft palate tip and the epiglottis. The hyperdivergent group had more retruded maxillary and mandibular apical bases and a higher Class II skeletal discrepancy. Conclusions: The narrower anteroposterior dimension of the airway in hyperdivergent patients may be attributable to skeletal features common to such patients, that is, retrusion of the maxilla and the mandible and vertical maxillary excess. Other features, such as an obtuse soft palate and low-set hyoid, also may be contributory factors. The relatively thin posterior pharyngeal wall observed in hyperdivergent patients might be a compensatory mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery