Morphological changes of the posterior airway space after tongue base suspension

Laryngoscope. 2005 Mar;115(3):475-80. doi: 10.1097/01.mlg.0000157842.40412.5f.


Objectives/hypothesis: The objectives were 1) to demonstrate the efficacy of tongue base suspension with the Repose System in modifying the posterior airway space on the basis of morphological changes in the retrolingual space and 2) to determine the implications of this procedure for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome on polysomnographic and psychometric data.

Study design: A prospective, nonrandomized study.

Methods: Polysomnography was performed before as well as 3 and 12 months after surgery in patients undergoing tongue base suspension using the Repose System. To identify morphological changes in the posterior airway space, lateral cephalometric radiography and videoendoscopy of the pharynx were performed preoperatively and postoperatively. Twenty-eight male patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome were included in the study. A suspension suture anchored intraorally at the mandible was passed submucosally in the body of the tongue, with suture tightness adjusted individually.

Results: The posterior airway space was widened by at least 2 mm in 60% of cases. Daytime sleepiness improved subjectively in 67% of patients, and the respiratory disturbance index improved postoperatively in 55%. The correlation between posterior airway space widening and the improvements in daytime sleepiness and respiratory disturbance index was not significant.

Conclusion: Surgical intervention in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome with the Repose System does not result in permanent anatomical change in the posterior airway space.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Screws*
  • Endoscopy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharynx / pathology
  • Polysomnography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / pathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Suture Techniques
  • Syndrome
  • Tongue / surgery*
  • Video Recording