Tools of the trade: Eccovision Pharyngometer

The Eccovision Pharyngometer in practice.
The Eccovision Pharyngometer in practice.

by Dr Ken Russell, Riken Dental Group, Adelaide, SA


At the moment I’m doing quite a bit of dental sleep medicine. This pharyngometer is used, along with a number of other diagnostic processes, in  the preparation of mandibular advancement devices. These are designed to pull the mandible forward and reduce the amount of snoring or turbulence in the throat and nose of people with sleep apnea. I use this machine for a quick diagnosis but the most complete information comes from a polysomnogram—an overnight sleep test in a hospital to determine how many times a patient stops breathing in a night.

What’s good about it

The pharyngometer gives an indication of the patient’s airway space and simulates what happens at various stages of sleep. The patient bites onto the mouthpiece and breathes out all their air to allow the tissues to relax and collapse. As they are breathing out, it sends soundwaves down their airway and they reflect back. A visual representation is displayed on the screen, giving me an idea of how much collapse there is in the airway.

I can then find a position by moving their jaw forward which will tell me whether an oral appliance is going to give a greater airway space.

Patients are very comfortable with the pharyngometer. They are just biting on the mouthpiece so there is no gagging.

What’s not so good

It works fine but you need to keep in mind it’s not 100 per cent accurate. I always use the results in conjunction with other testing. It also needs a decent Windows upgrade. I’ve been using this pharyngometer for about seven years and it’s still working on DOS.

Where did you get it

Body Logic.


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