Evaluation of pharyngeal space and its correlation with mandible and hyoid bone in patients with different skeletal classes and facial types

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The purpose of this article was to evaluate the pharyngeal space volume, and the size and shape of the mandible and the hyoid bone, as well as their relationships, in patients with different facial types and skeletal classes. Furthermore, we estimated the volume of the pharyngeal space with a formula using only linear measurements.


A total of 161 i-CAT Next Generation (Imaging Sciences International, Hatfield, Pa) cone-beam computed tomography images (80 men, 81 women; ages, 21-58 years; mean age, 27 years) were retrospectively studied. Skeletal class and facial type were determined for each patient from multiplanar reconstructions using the NemoCeph software (Nemotec, Madrid, Spain). Linear and angular measurements were performed using 3D imaging software (version 3.4.3; Carestream Health, Rochester, NY), and volumetric analysis of the pharyngeal space was carried out with ITK-SNAP (version 2.4.0; Cognitica, Philadelphia, Pa) segmentation software. For the statistics, analysis of variance and the Tukey test with a significance level of 0.05, Pearson correlation, and linear regression were used.


The pharyngeal space volume, when correlated with mandible and hyoid bone linear and angular measurements, showed significant correlations with skeletal class or facial type. The linear regression performed to estimate the volume of the pharyngeal space showed an R of 0.92 and an adjusted R2 of 0.8362.


There were significant correlations between pharyngeal space volume, and the mandible and hyoid bone measurements, suggesting that the stomatognathic system should be evaluated in an integral and nonindividualized way. Furthermore, it was possible to develop a linear regression model, resulting in a useful formula for estimating the volume of the pharyngeal space.

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