Author(s): B Tucker Woodson, Robert J Toohill
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a commonly performed procedure for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, results are inconsistent. Patients in whom the UPPP procedure has failed have a smaller change in airway size as compared to responders, and also many demonstrate continued obstruction at the palate. We present a modification, transpalatal advancement pharyngoplasty, that increases upper oropharyngeal and retropalatal airway size by advancing the soft palate. Eleven patients with severe OSA and multiple sites of airway narrowing were corrected by this method. Three patients had prior UPPP and 5 patients had concomitant tongue-base procedures. Overall results demonstrate clinical enlargement of the retropalatal space. In the 6 patients who had transpalatal advancement pharyngoplasty alone, 4 (67%) were successful responders as defined by a respiratory disturbance index (RDI) of less than 20 events per hour. RDI decreased from 52.8 +/- 12.2 to 12.3 +/- 2.8 events per hour. For the entire group, RDI decreased from 73.3 +/- 29.4 to 25.1 +/- 28.2 events per hour (P < .001). There were four complications, including a transient oronasal fistula(1), transient dysphagia(2), and serous otitis media(1). Transpalatal advancement pharyngoplasty potentially may offer an alternative to increasingly aggressive resection with UPPP in an effort to increase the upper oropharyngeal and retropalatal airway and may be appropriate in careful selected patients as part of the surgical treatment of OSA.