Introduction: The aim of this prospective, longitudinal study was toe valuate changes to the external shape and form of the nose after Surgically Assisted Rapid Maxillary Expansion (SARME) and orthodontic treatment. The changes were registered using a three-dimensional (3-D) computer tomography technique, based on superimposition on the anterior base of the skull.
Method: The subjects comprised 35 patients, mean age 19.7 years (16.1-43.9). Lowdose, helical Computerized Tomography (CT) was taken at treatment start and after completed orthodontic treatment, about 18months post-surgery. The 3-D models were registered and superimposed on the anterior cranial base.
Results: There was in general significant widening and overall anterior and inferior displacement of the nasal soft tissue. The changes varied in size and direction. No correlation was found between the initial and final widths of the nose, or between the initial and final widths of the nostrils.
Conclusion: After SARME, the most obvious changes to the external features of the nose are at the most lateral alar-bases. The difference in lateral displacement profoundly influenced the perception of a more rounded nose. Patients with narrow and constrained nostrils can benefit from these changes. The 3-D superimposition applied in this study is a reliable method, circumventing projection and measurement errors.