Vocal Tract Dynamic Positioning

The PI of this project was:

This project was funded by: NIH

The term of this project was: September 2016 to January 2017

The number of subjects scanned during this project was: 15

Specific Aims/Study Objectives:

Depict normal intrinsic and extrinsic musculature of the oral cavity, oropharynx, and nasopharynx in relationship to adjacent structures with optimized high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Gain a better understanding of the relationship of the extrinsic pharyngeal musculature to the intrinsic pharyngeal constrictor muscles of the neck.

This should allow better understanding of the functions these structures serve such as swallowing and speech production. Also, the clear delineation of the anatomy from healthy individuals will help in the assessment of the spread of pharyngeal neoplasms beyond the pharyngeal mucosa along the extrinsic pharyngeal muscles that insert on the intrinsic pharyngeal musculature.

Research Design and Methods
Inclusion Criteria:
15 healthy subjects will be included, with an age of older than 18 years; 8 males and 7 females. The subjects must have no contraindications to MRI scanning by the MRI screening protocol.

Subjects without known pathology within the oral cavity, oropharynx, or nasopharynx, those who are able to hold still for the duration of the study and not swallow, and those without a potential pregnancy may be included in this study.

High resolution T1 Cube images will be obtained with patients in neutral, flexed, and extended positions; both with and without acoustic pharyngometry mouthpieces. A total of 5 sequences will be obtained. Landmark measurements of key structures will then be performed, along with segmentation of the airway from the soft tissues. These results will be compared to similar measurements obtained by acoustic pharyngometry to assess the resulting changes in airway morphology and to assess the validity of acoustic pharyngometry measurements with changes in position.