Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty for snoring: Medium- to long-term subjective and objective analysis

G. Berger, Y. Finkelstein, G. Stein, D. Ophir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess the subjective and objective medium- to long-term results of laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty for snoring. Design: A nonrandomized, prospective, before-after trial. Subjects and Interventions: Fourteen patients underwent laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty surgery; 2 surgical techniques, which differ with respect to the mode of midline palatal vaporization, were used. Main Outcome Measures: Subjective analysis included a preoperative and 2 postoperative evaluations of the state of snoring: 4 weeks and 10.1±7.9 months (mean±SD) after completion of last laser treatment. In addition, a score on 5 other sleep-related symptoms was recorded before treatment and after 10.1±7.9 months; at that time, patients also estimated their overall satisfaction with the procedure. Objective analysis included preoperative nocturnal polysomnographic studies that were repeated postoperatively. Results: A decline in snoring improvement from 79% (11/14) to 57% (8/14) was recorded; furthermore, state of snoring worsened from 7% (1/14) to 21% (3/14). Likewise, reevaluation of the 5 other sleep-related symptoms at the final follow-up visit uncovered a 57% improvement rate. Overall satisfaction with the procedure was 43%. The results of the postoperative objective studies corresponded to those of the subjective ones and demonstrated significant worsening of respiratory disturbance index in 3 (21%) of the 14 patients, who became mildly apneic. These findings were encountered with both laser techniques. Conclusions: The favorable subjective short-term results of laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty deteriorated with time. In addition, postoperative nocturnal polysomnography showed that the procedure caused mild obstructive sleep apnea in a considerable number of patients who formerly were nonapneic snorers. These findings may be related to velopharyngeal narrowing and progressive palatal fibrosis, caused by the thermal damage inflicted by the laser beam.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-417
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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