Submucosal Lingualplasty for Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Indunil Gunawardena, Samuel Robinson, Stuart Mackay, Charmaine Woods, June Choo, Adrian Esterman, Andrew Carney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To measure quality-of-life outcomes, polysomnographic outcomes, and adverse effects for a new technique of tongue reduction in obstructive sleep apnea. Study Design. Case series. Setting. Tertiary hospital. Subjects and Methods. Consecutively treated adult patients (N = 27) with obstructive sleep apnea having submucosal lingualplasty in 2007 were studied. All had concurrent or previous uvulopalatoplasty 6 palatal advancement. Full polysomnography preoperatively and 3.7 ± 0.4 months postoperatively, scored using the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 2007 criteria, was recorded. Snoring severity score, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and complication data were collected at a 2.61 ± 0.08-year follow-up via questionnaire. Results. Mean snoring severity score fell from 7.1 ± 0.4 to 2.3 ± 0.6 (P<.05). Epworth Sleepiness Scale score fell from 8.3 ± 1.1 to 5.8 ± 1.0 (P<.05). The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) fell from 44.0 ± 4.3 to 12.5 ± 2.3 (P <.05). Success, defined as achieving an AHI <15 postoperatively, was observed in 74% (20/27), with each of these patients achieving a reduction in AHI .50%. Lowest oxygen saturation improved from 84 ± 1 to 88 ± 1 (P<.05). Pain was mild to moderate. Short-term postoperative complications included bleeding (3.7%) and infection (14.8%). Some minor long-term (6 months) alteration in tongue function was reported with regard to speech (47%), swallow (33%), and taste (33%). Conclusion. Submucosal lingualplasty with concurrent palatal surgery is a promising treatment option in adult patients with obstructive sleep apnea with macroglossia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
JournalOtolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sleep
  • Sleep study
  • Sleep surgery
  • Submucosal lingualplasty
  • Tongue reduction surgery


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