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Computational analysis of swallowing mechanics after surgery for obstructive sleep apnea

| Reprints
April 30, 2018
by Mark A. Ellis, MD; Mariah B. Pate, MD; Hugh D. Dorris, BA; William G. Pearson Jr., PhD; Jimmy J. Brown, DDS, MD

Abstract

Multilevel upper airway surgery for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been shown to cause clinically significant dysphagia in some patients. We describe the cases of 2 adults with OSA who developed persistent dysphagia after multilevel upper airway surgery. Patient-specific computational analysis of swallowing mechanics (CASM) revealed absent pharyngeal shortening and aberrant tongue base retraction in both patients. These findings are consistent with the OSA surgical goal of enlarging the hypopharyngeal airway but likely contributed to our patients' dysphagia. Patient-specific CASM allows for sensitive identification of swallowing mechanical dysfunction that might otherwise be overlooked, and it may be utilized in future head and neck surgery patients to analyze swallowing dysfunction associated with treatment.

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