3d scan

Predicting Sleep Disordered Breathing from 3D Craniofacial Imaging


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder in which the subject cannot breathe while sleeping due to an obstruction in the upper airway. This results in the subject being extremely tired during the day and puts the patient at risk of developing serious cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in the long-term [Shahar et al. 2001]. Obstruction of the upper airway may have several causes, but the most frequent are related to overweight and the anatomical structure of the face [Lee et al. 2009a]. Fat deposits around the upper airway can cause obstruction or the airways can be naturally narrow. Furthermore, the position and size of the lower jaw also plays an important role in OSA, and for some patients, the only treatment is jaw surgery in order to move their lower jaw forward [Mehra et al. 2000]. The size of the tongue and soft palate are also risk factors in the presence of OSA [Schwab et al. 2003] . OSA is diagnosed by the help of a polysomnography (PSG), which is a diagnostic sleep test. A PSG comprises of several biomedical signals being measured on the patient while they are sleeping. These signals measure the brain activity, heart rate, eye movements, limb movement, breathing pattern, blood oxygen, snoring, and chest and abdominal movement. A PSG is very time consuming and expensive, since all the signals must be analyzed and scored by a technician subsequently. Thus, there is a need for a more simple and efficient method of diagnosing SDB. It has been shown that craniofacial features are predictive of OSA [Lee et al. 2009b], and a diagnostic system based on craniofacial images would offer a cheap and efficient alternative to the PSG.


Shahar et al. 2001: https://doi.org/10.1164/ajrccm.163.1.2001008

Lee et al. 2009a: https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep/32.1.37

Mehra et al. 2000: https://doi.org/10.1080/08998280.2000.11927701

Schwab et al. 2003: https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.200208-866OC

Lee et al. 2009b: https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep/32.1.46


Poul Jørgen Jennum
Rigshospitalet, Glostrup


Emmanuel Mignot
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University