TORS as Part of Multilevel Surgery in OSA: The Importance of Careful Patient Selection and Outcomes

J Clin Med. 2022 Feb 14;11(4):990. doi: 10.3390/jcm11040990.


Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a relatively young technique principally devised for managing apneas in the tongue base area. This study summarizes and presents our personal experience with TORS for OSA treatment, with the aim to provide information regarding its safety, efficacy, and postoperative complications. A retrospective study was conducted on patients undergoing TORS with lingual tonsillectomy through the Da Vinci robot. The effectiveness of the surgical procedure was assessed employing the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and overnight polysomnography with the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI). A total of 57 patients were included. Eighteen patients (31.6%) had undergone previous surgery. The mean time of TORS procedure was 30 min. Base of tongue (BOT) management was associated with other procedures in all patients: pharyngoplasty (94%), tonsillectomy (66%), and septoplasty (58%). At 6 months follow-up visit, there was a significant improvement in AHI values (from 38.62 ± 20.36 to 24.33 ± 19.68) and ESS values (from 14.25 ± 3.97 to 8.25 ± 3.3). The surgical success rate was achieved in 35.5% of patients. The most frequent major complication was bleeding, with the need for operative intervention in three cases (5.3%). The most common minor complications were mild dehydration and pain. TORS for OSA treatment appears to be an effective and safe procedure for adequately selected patients looking for an alternative therapy to CPAP.

Keywords: multilevel collapse; obstructive sleep apnea; robotic surgery; tongue base.