What is the role of lasers in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Sep 15, 2020
  • Author: Himanshu Wickramasinghe, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty is successful for reducing snoring in 90% of patients, but the success rate in patients with SDB is not clear. It may cause more scarring than UPPP, and it could potentially worsen apnea. Worsened OSA has been observed in the early postoperative period after laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty. Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty is not recommended for the treatment of OSA until further data are available.

Laser midline glossectomy and lingualplasty are performed to enlarge the retrolingual region by using a laser to remove a portion of the posterior aspect of the tongue. The role of these procedures in the management of SDB has yet to be defined.

Nasal surgery includes septoplasty, turbinectomy, and polypectomy and may be useful as an adjunct to other procedures or to improve CPAP adherence. Nasal surgery by itself is rarely effective for the treatment of OSA.

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