Hypopharyngeal surgery in obstructive sleep apnea: Practice patterns, perceptions, and attitudes

Eric J. Kezirian, Heather M. Hussey, Scott E. Brietzke, Seth M. Cohen, Greg E. Davis, Jennifer J. Shin, Debra G. Weinberger, Michael D. Cabana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective. To characterize factors that surgeons perceive as affecting selection of procedures designed to treat hypopharyngeal obstruction in adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and to compare those factors among 2 groups of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) member surgeons. Study Design. Cross-sectional online survey. Subjects and Methods. AAO-HNS members with a selfidentified subspecialty interest either in sleep medicine or general otolaryngology were asked to complete an online survey, each respondent rated (5-point Likert scale) the perceived quality of their education and training and the role of specific factors in selection, both for procedure categories (eg, all hypopharyngeal) and individual procedures. Responses were examined for the entire group and for subgroups. Results. Response rate was 27% (163/610). Sixty-five percent of respondents rated their surgical OSA education and training during postgraduate continuing medical education (CME) courses as of high quality, compared with 39% for residency/fellowship and 4% for medical school (P< 0.01). For individual hypopharyngeal procedures, over 40% of respondents reported limited training (except for tongue radiofrequency), and over 30% raised concerns about scientific evidence and reimbursement. Surgeon personal experience suggested treatment benefits without clearly favoring individual procedures. Respondents noted that patients were reluctant to undergo procedures, despite treatment recommendations, particularly maxillomandibular advancement. The sleep medicine subgroup reported higher ratings for education and training quality, research evidence, and personal experience with hypopharyngeal procedures. Concerns about adequate education and training, the quality of research evidence, and reimbursement issues were major factors in procedure selection. Conclusion. Multiple factors affect procedure selection. Surgeons identify concerns regarding education and training and research evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)964-971
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Health services research
  • Sleep medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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