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Laryngoscope. 1999 Sep;109(9):1438-41.

Early polysomnographic findings and long-term subjective results in sleep apnea patients treated with laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.



To examine the long-term results of laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) for the treatment of patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).


One hundred eighty-two OSAS patients treated with LAUP were followed for an average of 4 years. Of these patients, 131 have completed treatment. Complete polysomnographic data are available on 48 patients. Five patients were eliminated owing to nasal surgery performed during the period between the preoperative and postoperative sleep studies, thus 43 patients were included who had only LAUP treatment. Another three patients were eliminated because their postoperative polysomnograms were performed less than 6 weeks after the last procedure. Complete long-term subjective data are available on 31 patients.


Between July 1993 and July 1998, 1038 patients were evaluated for LAUP treatment for snoring and OSAS. Of the 1038 patients, 409 were treated with LAUP and the remaining 629 were treated with other surgical procedures, devices, or behavior modification. The 40 patients who underwent only LAUP treatment for OSAS and have complete polysomnographic data are the focus of this study.


The significant objective polysomnographic findings include a decrease in the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) from 25.0 +/- 2.8 to 15.3 +/- 2.9 (P = < .0001), and a decrease in the apnea index (AI) from 14.6 +/- 2.6 to 9.0 +/- 2.4 (P = .00248). In addition, the percentage of time spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep significantly increased after LAUP, from 13.3% +/- 1.0 to 17.6% +/- 1.4 (P = .0149). The long-term subjective results indicate that the presenting complaints were improved after LAUP in 74.9% +/- 4.1 with a mean follow-up of 4.04 years +/- 72 days (median, 4.63 y).


LAUP remains a safe and effective treatment for carefully selected patients suffering from OSAS. Five years after LAUP was introduced in the United States, objective polysomnographic data demonstrate reduction in the RDI and increased time spent in REM sleep after treatment. In addition, the long-term subjective results show that the presenting symptoms were no longer present in 75% of patients treated with LAUP.

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