Modified hyoid suspension technique in the treatment of multilevel related obstructive sleep apnea

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Feb;150(2):321-4. doi: 10.1177/0194599813514532. Epub 2013 Dec 10.


Objective: Using the Hörmann technique of hyoid suspension in sleep apnea surgery, a steel wire is placed through the thyroid cartilage and slung around the hyoid bone. However, we experienced thyroid cartilage fracture by steel wire traction. A modification is presented to avoid thyroid cartilage fracture.

Study design: Case series with chart review.

Setting: University hospital.

Subjects and methods: Twenty-seven patients affected by obstructive sleep apnea syndrome underwent Hörmann hyoid suspension. In 2 patients, the steel wire caused a fracture of the thyroid cartilage. The technique was therefore modified in 25 subsequent patients. The wire is threaded through an adaptation titanium miniplate placed on the surface of the thyroid cartilage.

Results: The apnea-hypopnea index decreased from 43.1 to 10.9/h. Nineteen patients (76%) met the criteria for a successful outcome. No complications related to this modification were noted.

Conclusions: The Hörmann hyoid suspension is a procedure that advances the hyoid bone to expand the airway, and its effectiveness has been proven previously. The modified hyoid suspension presented here promises similar results without the risk of serious complications such as thyroid cartilage fracture.

Keywords: hyoid suspension; multilevel surgery; obstructive sleep apnea.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyoid Bone / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Polysomnography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Thyroid Cartilage / injuries