gms | German Medical Science

76th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

04.05. - 08.05.2005, Erfurt

Anatomic changes after hyoid suspension for obstructive sleep apnea : a MRI study

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author Alexander Baisch - Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Mannheim
  • Karl Hörmann - Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Mannheim
  • Wolfgang Neff - Department of Clinical Radiology, Mannheim
  • Joachim T. Maurer - Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Mannheim
  • Gregor Bran - Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Mannheim
  • Christoph Düber - Department of Clinical Radiology, Mannheim
  • Thomas Verse - Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Homburg/Saar
  • Boris A. Stuck - Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Mannheim

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. 76. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie e.V.. Erfurt, 04.-08.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc05hno142

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 22, 2005

© 2005 Baisch et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objectives: Aim of the study was to assess the effects of isolated hyoid suspension on subjective and objective measurements of obstructive sleep apnea and to evaluate changes in upper airway soft tissue anatomy with the help of standardized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Furthermore, the potential use of MRI and lateral x-ray cephalometry for patients selection ought to be investigated.

Study Design and Setting: 15 patients with obstructive sleep apnea were treated with isolated hyoid suspension. Changes in respiratory disturbance index were assessed with standard polysomnography before and after treatment together with standardized MRI. Snoring, daytime sleepiness and functional parameters were assessed with visual analogue scales, daytime sleepiness with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Lateral x-ray cephalometry was performed before treatment.

Results: Mean RDI was reduced from 35.2±19.1 at baseline to 27.4±26.2 postoperatively (p>0.05). 40% of the patients were classified as responders. Snoring and daytime sleepiness improved moderately. Relevant changes in upper airway soft tissue anatomy could not be detected. There were no remarkable differences between responders and non-responders in preoperative imaging.

Conclusions: Hyoid suspension is effective only in a subgroup of patients and does not lead to relevant changes in airway diameters in the awake patient. The reported effects may be more likely due to functional changes in airway collapsibility rather than due to an active enlargement of upper airway.

Significance: When patients with craniofacial deformities are ruled out, MRI and x-ray cephalometry do not add additional information in terms of proper patient selection in isolated hyoid suspension.