Open Access

Anterior palatoplasty as a treatment for mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea: our experience


BACKGROUND. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by frequent episodes of breathing cessation during sleep, resulting in low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels, leading to daytime sleepnes, cognitive issues, and increased cardiovascular risk. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the anterior palatoplasty (AP) procedure in the treatment of patients with mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

MATERIAL AND METHODS. Sixteen patients diagnosed with mild and moderate OSA underwent AP in our clinic between 2021-2023. All patients were > 18 years old, body mass index < 30, with an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) from 10 to 40 and disfunction of the velopharyngeal or of the retropalatal space. Patients underwent a one-night polysomnography examination prior to the surgical procedure, as well as six months after the procedure. Additionally, patients were asked to complete the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) both prior to and six months following the surgery. The procedure was done under general anaesthesia and involved AP surgery with or without reducing of the uvula.

RESULTS. The average of total AHI values decreased from 28.89 per hour prior to surgery to 11.14 per hour six months after surgery. The oxygen desaturation index decreased after surgery with 2.57%. ESS scores of patients also decreased from 10.40 to 7.80 and all patients felt less tired.

CONCLUSION. We believe that AP is an effective technique in the treatment of mild and moderate OSA caused by a disfunction of the velopharyngeal or retropalatal space. Additionally, we consider that AP is linked with a lower incidence of post-surgical complications compared to other surgical options.