Positional dependency and surgical success of relocation pharyngoplasty among patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea

Hsueh-Yu Li, Wen Nuan Cheng, Li Pang Chuang, Tuan-Jen Fang, Li Jen Hsin, Chung Jan Kang, Li Ang Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective. To examine the effect of positional dependency on surgical success among patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) following modified uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, known as relocation pharyngoplasty. Study Design. Case series with planned data collection. Setting. Tertiary referred center. Subjects and Methods. Standard nocturnal polysomnography was used to compare the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) in different sleep positions before and after relocation pharyngoplasty in 47 consecutive patients with severe OSA (AHI, 59.5 ± 18.2 events/hour; Epworth Sleepiness Scale [ESS] scores, 12.2 ± 4.4) who failed continuous positive airway pressure therapy. Positional (dependency) OSA was defined when the supine:non-supine AHI ratio was >2, otherwise it was defined as nonpositional OSA. Surgical success was defined as a ≥50% reduction in AHI and a postoperative AHI of ≤20 events/hour. Polysomnographic parameters, ESS, and surgical success following surgery were recorded. Results. Of the 47 patients, 27 (57%) had positional OSA and 20 (43%) nonpositional OSA. The nonpositional OSA patients had higher AHI and ESS scores than the positional OSA patients (P = .002 and .104, respectively). Relocation pharyngoplasty significantly improved AHI and ESS scores in both positional and nonpositional OSA groups 6 months postoperatively (P <.05). The overall surgical success rate was 49%; however, positional OSA patients had a significantly higher success rate than nonpositional OSA patients (67% vs 25%, P = .008). Conclusion. The presence of positional dependency at baseline was a favorable outcome predictor of surgical success among severe OSA patients undergoing relocation pharyngoplasty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-512
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 09 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • outcome
  • positional dependency
  • relocation pharyngoplasty
  • sleep position


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