Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the histologic alterations in the upper airway in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
Study design: Surgical specimens were obtained during non-laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty from 5 adult patients (4 male and 1 female) with polysomnographically confirmed obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
Results: In all of the specimens, interstitial edema was present with mild inflammatory reaction. Fat was not at all prominent.
Conclusions: It is confirmed histologically that there is edema present in the upper airway in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. It is uncertain whether this edema is one of the causative mechanisms of the obstruction or a consequence of the syndrome.