Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty vs CN XII stimulation for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea: A single institution experience

Am J Otolaryngol. 2018 May-Jun;39(3):266-270. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2018.03.003. Epub 2018 Mar 2.


Objectives: Hypoglossal nerve stimulation (HNS) therapy is an emerging surgical treatment for select patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This study aims to compare outcomes in patients with moderate to severe OSA who underwent HNS surgery (Inspire Medical Systems) and those who underwent traditional airway reconstructive surgery, specifically uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP).

Methods: Patients who underwent HNS implantation (n = 20), all with moderate to severe OSA, inability to adhere to positive pressure therapy, and compliant with previously published inclusion criteria, were compared to a historical cohort that were intolerant of CPAP with similar inclusion criteria who all underwent UPPP (n = 20) with some also undergoing additional procedures such as septoplasty/turbinate reduction. Data including body mass index (BMI), pre- and post-implant apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) were assessed.

Results: For patients who underwent HNS, mean preoperative BMI was 28.0. Mean AHI decreased significantly from 38.9 ± 12.5 to 4.5 ± 4.8. All patients achieved an AHI < 20 post implant with 65% (13/20) with an AHI ≤ 5. For patients who underwent traditional airway surgery, mean preoperative BMI was 27.5; mean AHI decreased from 40.3 ± 12.4 to 28.8 ± 25.4.

Conclusion: While both traditional surgery and HNS are effective treatments for patients with moderate to severe OSA with CPAP intolerance, our study demonstrates that HNS is "curative" in normalizing the AHI to <5 in the majority of patients. For select patients, HNS therapy provides excellent objective improvement in outcome measures.

Keywords: Apnea hypopnea index; Hypoglossal nerve stimulation; Obstructive sleep apnea; Upper airway surgery; Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypoglossal Nerve*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Palate / surgery
  • Polysomnography / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uvula / surgery