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Rady Children's Specialists

Sleep apnea and compromised airway

Sleep apnea and compromised airways can occur due to a variety of abnormal conditions such as Pierre Robin syndrome, a disorder characterized by a small lower jaw, cleft palate and poor oxygenation. The cause of a compromised airway can be determined by careful examination and X-ray studies. Additionally, a sleep study is often used to determine the severity of the airway problem.

Causes of sleep apnea and compromised airways include:

  • Choanal stenosis
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Enlarged tongue and small chin
  • Underdeveloped upper jaw (maxilla)
  • Underdeveloped lower jaw (mandible)
  • Collapse of the larynx or trachea

Specialists at Rady Children’s include pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeons, head and neck surgeons, pulmonary doctors, radiologists, and sleep lab technicians. As members of this pediatric team, our surgeons are able to correct compromised airways in children, such as those with Pierre Robin syndrome and other conditions with small jaws or skeletal deformities; maximize a child’s breathing; and improve speech and feeding functions, in addition to improving overall appearance.