No-cutting remodelling intra-pharyngeal surgery can avoid CPAP in selected OSA patients: myth or reality?

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2022 Oct;279(10):5039-5045. doi: 10.1007/s00405-022-07261-6. Epub 2022 Feb 6.


Introduction: Oropharyngeal surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has evolved from a radical excision of "redundant" soft tissue for the enlargment of the airway to a minimally invasive reconstruction to fulfill both preservation of pharyngeal function and improvement of sleep apnea. Recently, Alianza surgical technique has been successfully introduced as a new, non-resective procedure aimed to treat concentric pharyngeal collapse at the velum using Barbed Sutures. The aim of this study was to show the effectiveness and safety of Alianza technique as standalone surgical treatment in selected patients with moderate-severe OSA and concentric pharyngeal collapse that refused or did not tolerate Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy.

Materials and methods: Effectiveness of the surgical procedure was assessed by means of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Home Sleep Test, and a 0-10 snoring VAS.

Results: At the end of our selection process, 26 patients were enrolled, with a mean age of 52.7 ± 9.2 years, that undergone Alianza tecnique. There was a statistically significant reduction in mean post-operative apnea-hypopnea indexes (34.1 ± 11.5-16.3 ± 10.3; p <0.01), mean oxygen desaturation index (29.0 ± 14.5-13.1 ± 9.2; p < 0.01), and mean ESS scores (12.1 ± 5.8 and 5.8 ± 4.4; p < 0.01).There was also a significant decrease in mean post-operative snoring VAS scores (7.85 ± 1.23 vs 3.2 ± 1.7, p < 0.01). There were no major complications.

Conclusions: Our preliminary results suggest that Alianza technique is a safe and repeatable surgery. Further studies on a larger scale are needed to confirm these encouraging data supporting the role of Alianza alone or in OSA multilevel surgery in selected OSA patients.

Keywords: Alianza and pharyngeal collapse; Barbed pharyngoplasty; Barbed sutures; Sleep apnea.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure* / methods
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharynx / surgery
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / surgery
  • Snoring
  • Treatment Outcome