The past decade has seen several innovations in the surgical techniques available for treatment of patients with sleep-disordered breathing. Outpatient techniques such as laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) and more aggressive procedures designed to address hypopharyngeal and base of tongue obstruction (genioglossus advancement and hyoid myotomy) have been developed and proven successful. We describe the efficacy of LAUP for snoring (72.7%), upper airway resistance syndrome (81.8%), and mild (mean [±SD] respiratory disturbance index [RDI] = 12 ± 8.1) obstructive sleep apnea (41.7%) in 56 patients who underwent 132 LAUP procedures in a 26-month period. Thirty-two patients with more significant obstructive sleep apnea (mean RDI = 41.8 ± 23.1) underwent multilevel pharyngeal surgery consisting of genioglossus advancement and hyoid myotomy combined with uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. The surgical success rate in this group of patients was 85.7% when commonly accepted criteria were applied. We recommend a stratified surgical approach to patients with sleep-disordered breathing. Progressively worse airway obstruction marked by multilevel pharyngeal collapse and more severe sleep-disordered breathing is treated with incrementally more aggressive surgery addressing multiple areas of the upper airway.
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