OBJECTIVE: To localize and quantify geometric morphometric differences in facial soft tissue morphology in adults with and without OSA.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eighty adult Malays, consisting of 40 patients with OSA and 40 non-OSA controls, were studied. Both groups were evaluated by the attending physician and through ambulatory sleep studies. 3-D stereophotogrammetry was used to capture facial soft tissues of both groups. The 3-D mean OSA and control facial configurations were computed and subjected to principal components analysis (PCA) and finite-element morphometry (FEM).
RESULTS: The body mass index was significantly greater for the OSA group (32.3 kg/m(2) compared to 24.8 kg/m(2), p < 0.001). The neck circumference was greater for the OSA group (42.7 cm compared to 37.1 cm, p < 0.001). Using PCA, significant differences were found in facial shape between the two groups using the first two principal components, which accounted for 50% of the total shape change (p < 0.05). Using FEM, these differences were localized in the bucco-submandibular regions of the face predominantly, indicating an increase in volume of 7-22% (p < 0.05) for the OSA group.
CONCLUSION: Craniofacial obesity in the bucco-submandibular regions is associated with OSA and may provide valuable screening information for the identification of patients with undiagnosed OSA.