Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion (SARPE)
What is a SARPE?
S.A.R.P.E. is an acronym for Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion. It is an orthognathic surgical procedure that is used to correct crowding, overbite, and to widen narrow palates.
Are you a candidate for a SARPE?
Adults who are experiencing crowding and an overbite may be a candidate for a SARPE. Because the palate is fully developed in adults, the surgical palate expansion is the best option for successful results. A younger person whose palate has not fully fused would not be a candidate for a SARPE.
How is a SARPE performed?
A SARPE is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will perform a vertical osteotomy (or a cut in the bone) in the maxilla, in conjunction with a Le Fort I osteotomy to perpetuate expansion of the palate.
Post-operatively, the patient will begin to open the expander slowly, until the proper measurements have been reached to start the orthodontic process. Patients must wait approximately three months for the bones to fuse into position and heal. For these three months, the palatal expander is kept in place to stabilize the bones in their healed position.
While the palate is expanding, the patient may notice a space between their two front teeth. This “gap” is a common result of the space the SARPE creates and once the patient has started orthodontic treatment, it will be corrected.
Why get a SARPE?
This procedure can correct crowding, a misaligned bite, and balance the overall symmetry of the patient’s upper and lower arches.