Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), although expensive is probably the best imaging study for patients with obstructive sleep apnea because of its excellent resolution in the supine position. This modality provides a detailed view of the fat and soft tissue of the pharyngeal walls and its relation with the airway.
DynamicMRI in awake/sleep OSA patients is an excellent diagnostic tool for localizing the upper airway collapse before appropriate selection of surgical therapy.
Dynamic MR imaging can accurately diagnose the cause and level of upper airway narrowing in patients with OSA. It can characterize and anatomically classify the level of narrowing for planning reparative surgery.
Sleep MRI is a novel and reliable approach to simultaneously evaluate airway obstructions and respiratory events in real time during natural sleep. Sleep MRI can define the dynamic characteristics of airway obstruction in preoperative stage.
Airway obstructions visualized on Sleep MRI during natural sleep included retropalatal, retroglossal, and combined obstruction.
According to the obstructive site, different types of obstructive type sleep disordered breathing are classified as the soft palate type, palatine tonsil type, soft palate and depressed lingual root type, depression of the lingual root type, and epiglottis type.