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Keywords:

  • Sleep apnea;
  • tongue cancer;
  • forearm free flap;
  • quality of life

Objectives/Hypothesis

To determine whether radial forearm free flap reconstruction of the tongue after partial glossectomy is associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

Study Design

Retrospective case series.

Methods

Fifteen patients (5 men, 10 women) treated for tongue cancer in 2006–2010 by partial glossectomy and immediate radial forearm free flap reconstruction completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and underwent polysomnographic studies. Background, clinical, and pathologic data were collected from the medical files.

Results

Mean ± SD age of the study group was 57 ± 19 years; body mass index, 24 ± 4; follow-up, 5.6 ± 2.8 years. Mean ± SD Epworth scale score was 8.18 ± 6.18 (normal, <8). Disordered sleep was documented in 11 patients, of whom 8 (53.3% of the cohort) had OSA (5 mild, 2 moderate, 1 severe). The OSA rate was significantly higher than reported in the general population (P = 0.001).

Conclusion

Patients after partial glossectomy and radial forearm free flap reconstruction appear to be at high risk of obstructive sleep apnea. Testing for OSA should be considered in these patients.

Level of Evidence

Level IV. Laryngoscope, 123:3223–3226, 2013