Trans-oral robotic surgery (TORS) is increasingly employed in obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) management. Objective outcomes are generally assessed through polysomnography. Pre-operative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be a useful adjunct in objective upper airway assessment, in particular the tongue base, providing useful information for surgical planning and outcome assessment, though care must be taken in patient positioning during surgery. The purpose of this paper is to identify pitfalls in this process and suggest a protocol for pre-operative MRI scanning in OSA.
This study is a four-patient prospective case-series and literature review. Outcome measures include pre- and post-operative volumetric changes in the pharynx as measured on MRI and apnoea–hypopnea indices (AHI), with cure being OSA resolution or a 50 per cent reduction in AHI.
All patients achieved AHI reduction and/or OSA cure following TORS, despite a decrease in pharyngeal volume measurements at the tongue base level. This study and others lacked standardisation in the MRI scanning protocol, which resulted in an inability to effectively compare pre- and post-operative scans. Pitfalls were related to variation in head/tongue position, soft-tissue marker usage and assessed area boundary limits.
TORS appears to be effective in OSA management. A new protocol for patient positioning and anatomical landmarks is suggested.
The findings could provide directly comparable data between scans and may allow correlation between tongue base volumetric changes and AHI through subsequent and historical study meta-analysis.
Hassaan, A., Trinidade, A., Kotecha, B. and Tolley, N. (2019), "TORS for OSA: a practice, pitfalls and literature review", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 488-498. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHCQA-05-2018-0112Download as .RIS
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