Can functional septorhinoplasty independently treat obstructive sleep apnea?

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015 Jun;135(6):1554-1565. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001285.


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether functional rhinoplasty alone results in a significant improvement in obstructive sleep apnea parameters in patients with nasal obstruction.

Methods: Records of consecutive adult patients with nasal obstruction who underwent surgery to repair their nasal inlet and completed preoperative and postoperative polysomnography were reviewed. Patients underwent polysomnography before and after functional septorhinoplasty. Long-term follow-up using Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation scores was conducted. Statistical analysis was performed using the Wilcoxon signed rank sum test. A Holm-Bonferroni sequential correction was also used because of multiple statistical comparisons being made.

Results: Twenty-six patients were included in this study. Mean apnea-hypopnea index scores preoperatively was 24.7, which dropped to a mean postoperative apnea-hypopnea index of 16, a reduction of 35 percent (p = 0.013). Excluding patients with a body mass index greater than 30 resulted in improved apnea-hypopnea index scores, from 22.5 to 9.6, a mean 57 percent reduction (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Functional rhinoplasty may have the potential to significantly improve the severity of obstructive sleep apnea for select patients with nasal obstruction. The nasal airflow improvement may modify pharyngeal aerodynamics. This is a fast and minimally invasive approach to consider in patients with obstructive sleep apnea and nasal obstruction, especially in patients with a body mass index less than 30.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Nasal Obstruction / surgery*
  • Nasal Septum / surgery
  • Nasal Septum / transplantation*
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Postoperative Care
  • Preoperative Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhinoplasty / methods*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome