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Sleep Surgeon Question 26

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Question 26 - Can scans clearly identify the airway obstruction?

From: B. D.

Regarding assessment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a team of Indian research paper concluded strongly that something called "Ultrafast MRI" scans could clearly identify the actual obstructions and the cause & level of them which would help identify more precise surgical diagnosis.

I have also read that there is a technique called "Sleep MRI" or "Cine MRI" (if they are the same thing). Someone else told me that there is another type called a "Dynamic MRI". Are these all the same are they all different? Which one(s) are best and which should I have done? What should I ask for?

I also read that CT scans are better than MRI scans for diagnosing Nasal/Sinus issues. Is this true? Thanks,


Answer Provided by Dr. Kasey Li
Nov. 10, 2007

Numerous advanced imaging techniques including Cine CT, Dynamic MR, Ultrafast MR…etc have all been used to show patients with OSA have smaller and narrower airway with more collapsible airway compared with patients without sleep apnea. The main issue is that almost all patients with sleep apnea have obstructions at the soft palate and the base of tongue.

In reality, it is the entire airway is obstructed. Advance imaging is an excellent tool to study the pattern of airway collapse but does not add much to clinical practice.


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