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Keywords:

  • Snoring;
  • sleep apnea;
  • palate implant;
  • palatoplasty;
  • evidence based medicine;
  • Level of Evidence: 2b

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of palatal implants as the treatment of primary snoring.

Study Design:

Prospective longitudinal cohort study.

Methods:

This study compared snoring outcomes before and after soft palate implantation for patients diagnosed with primary snoring (no sleep apnea). Snoring severity was obtained by the subjects' sleep partners on a 10-point Likert scale. A paired Student t test compared the mean scale values preoperatively at week 52 and at the current 4-year follow-up. Body mass index for each patient was also compared to evaluate for any significant confounders.

Results:

Data were obtained from 23 patients out of 26 who were followed for the full study term. The follow-up time was on average 4 years following palatal implantation. A statistically (P < .016) and clinically significant improvement in the snoring scale was noted when comparing snoring severity between the preoperative and 4-year period and between the 52-week and 4-year scores. Although statistically significant improvement was found between the preoperative period and 52 weeks, there was a clinical deterioration in snoring scale scores between 52 weeks and 4 years. The mean (standard deviation) preoperative score was 9.5 (0.5), mean week-52 score was 5.0 (1.6), and mean 4-year score was 7.0 (1.8). Body mass index did not change through the observation interval.

Conclusions:

Soft palate implantation is a possible surgical technique with which to attempt to achieve subjective improvement of primary snoring severity. Subjective improvement, however, deteriorates significantly over time, and is only minimally sustained at 4 years postoperatively. This study provides new information on long-term palatal implant effectiveness.