Endoscopically-assisted surgical expansion (EASE) for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep Med. 2019 Aug;60:53-59. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2018.09.008. Epub 2018 Sep 29.


Objective: The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the results of an outpatient surgical procedure known as endoscopically-assisted surgical expansion (EASE) in expanding the maxilla to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in adolescent and adults.

Methods: Thirty-three patients (18 males), aged 15-61 years, underwent EASE of the maxilla. All patients completed pre- and post-operative clinical evaluations, polysomnography, questionnaires (Epworth Sleepiness Scale [ESS] and Nasal Obstruction Septoplasty Questionnaire [NOSE]) as well as cone beam computed tomography (CBCT).

Results: With EASE, the overall apnea hypopnea index (AHI) improved from 31.6 ± 11.3 to 10.1 ± 6.3. The oxygen desaturation index (ODI) improved from 11.8 ± 9.6 to 1.8 ± 3.7, with reduction of ESS scores from 13.4 ± 4.0 to 6.7 ± 3.1. Nasal breathing improved as demonstrated by reduction of the NOSE scores from 57.8 ± 12.9 to 15.6 ± 5.7. Expansion of the airway from widening of the nasal floor was consistently evident on all postoperative CBCT; the anterior nasal floor expanded 4.9 ± 1.2 mm, posterior nasal floor expanded 5.6 ± 1.2 mm, and the dental diastema created was 2.3 ± 0.8 mm. Mean operative time was 54.0 ± 6.0 min. All patients with mild to moderate OSA were discharged the same day; patients with severe OSA were observed overnight. All patients returned to school or work and regular activities within three days.

Conclusions: EASE is an outpatient procedure that improves nasal breathing and OSA by widening the nasal floor in adolescents and adults. Compared to current surgical approaches for maxillary expansion, EASE is considerably less invasive and consistently achieves enlargement of the airway with minimal complications.

Keywords: Airway; EASE; Maxillary expansion; OSA; Palatal expansion; SARPE.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography
  • Endoscopy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palatal Expansion Technique*
  • Polysomnography
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires