Assessment of surgical effects on patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome using computational fluid dynamics simulations

Academic Article


  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is one of the most common sleep disorders. To treat patients with this health problem, it is important to detect the severity of this syndrome and occlusion sites in each patient. The goal of this study is to test the hypothesis that the cure of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome by maxillomandibular advancement surgery can be predicted by analyzing the effect of anatomical airway changes on the pressure effort required for normal breathing using a high-fidelity, 3-D numerical model. The employed numerical model consists of: (1) 3-D upper airway geometry construction from patient-specific computed tomographic scans using an image segmentation technique, (2) mixed-element mesh generation of the numerically constructed airway geometry for discretizing the domain of interest, and (3) computational fluid dynamics simulations for predicting the flow field within the airway and the degree of severity of breathing obstruction. In the present study, both laminar and turbulent flow simulations were performed to predict the flow field in the upper airway of the selected patients before and after maxillomandibular advancement surgery. Patients of different body mass indices were also studied to assess their effects. The numerical results were analyzed to evaluate the pressure gradient along the upper airway. The magnitude of the pressure gradient is regarded as the pressure effort required for breathing, and the extent of reduction of the pressure effort is taken to measure the success of the surgery. The description of the employed numerical model, numerical results from simulations of various patients, and suggestion for future work are detailed in this paper.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cheng GC; Koomullil RP; Ito Y; Shih AM; Sittitavornwong S; Waite PD
  • Start Page

  • 44
  • End Page

  • 59
  • Volume

  • 106