Functional characteristics of retrognathic patients before and after mandibular advancement surgery

Gaylord S. Throckmorton, Edward Ellis, Douglas P. Sinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to compare morphologic parameters and functional performance between controls and a sample of patients with mandibular retrognathia prior to surgical correction, and to examine how oral motor function adapts after treatment. Patients and Methods: Twenty-four retrognathic female patients were compared with 26 female controls before and up to 3 years after mandibular advancement surgery. Measures of skeletal morphology, mandibular range of motion, maximum isometric bite force, and levels of electromyographic activity in the anterior and posterior temporalis and masseter muscles during isometric bites were made on all subjects over time. One-way analysis of variance was used to compare the controls, the patients before surgery, and the patients after surgery. Results: Surgical lengthening of the mandible averaged 7.3 mm, bringing most skeletal measures into the normal range. There were no significant differences in jaw muscle mechanical advantage between patients and controls before surgery, but surgery significantly reduced mechanical advantage of the anterior temporalis and masseter muscles. Jaw hypomobility was apparent at 6 weeks after surgery, but returned to normal values within 12 to 24 months. Before surgery the patients had maximum isometric bite forces less than half those of controls. Bite forces steadily increased after surgery, approaching normal values within 2 years. Before surgery the patients' muscle activity levels per unit of bite force were equivalent to those of controls or somewhat higher. After surgery some of the patients' muscles had significantly lower levels of muscle activity per unit of bite force than did controls. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that correction of mandibular retrognathia by mandibular advancement surgery produces some significant functional benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-908
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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