Causative Factors for Complications in Transpalatal Advancement



Publication Details

Chan, L., Kitpornchai, L. & Mackay, S. (2020). Causative Factors for Complications in Transpalatal Advancement. Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, 129 (1), 18-22.



Transpalatal advancement (TPA) is a procedure that is used when modern variants of uvulopharyn-gopalatoplasty are unable to provide enough anterior traction. Although successful in reduction of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) parameters, it also comes with procedure-specific risks. Formation of an oro-nasal fistula (ONF) is a complication that results in significant morbidity and a protracted treatment course.


After approval from the University of Wollongong Health Research Ethics Committee, a retrospective chart review of all cases undergoing TPA performed by a single surgeon over a 10-year period from 2008 to 2018 was performed. Patients underwent pre- and postoperative level 1 or 2 polysomnography. Factors potentially contributing to palatal complications, as well as pre- and postoperative polysomnographic parameters, subjective sleep questionnaires, and body mass index (BMI) were statistically analyzed where a Pvalue


A total of 59 patients were included. Overall palatal complication rate was 25.4% (15/59), with the most common being transient velo-palatal insufficiency (VPI) (8/59, 13.6%). ONF developed in 4/59 (6.8%) of patients. None of the analyzed contributing factors for palatal complications were statistically significant, except the presence of a high-arched palate and development of ONF. All analyzed sleep parameters, as well as BMI, were significantly different when comparing pre- to postoperative results.


This study suggests that TPA has a role in current sleep surgery paradigms and can significantly improve both objective and subjective outcome measures of OSA. Surgeons contemplating TPA on patients with high-arched hard palates should do so with caution.

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