European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 270, Issue 8, pp 2339–2343 | Cite as

Effects of Pillar implants for sleep-related breathing disorders on middle ear function

  • Hsin-Ching Lin
  • Michael Friedman
  • Hsueh-Wen Chang
  • Chi-Chih Lai
  • Chien-Hung Chin
  • Meng-Chih Lin
  • Thomas Pott
  • Christian Samuelson


Pillar implants provide a reasonable outcome with minimal post-operative morbidity and complications in treating patients with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) who had obvious palatal obstruction. The palatal structure is responsible for a normal functioning Eustachian tube; however, little is known if there is any potential otologic implication of minimally invasive palatal stiffening surgery for SDB. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of Pillar implantation on middle ear function. We performed a prospective study in a tertiary referral center. Thirty SDB patients (25 men, 5 women; mean age, 44.3 years) who underwent Pillar implants for treating palatal obstruction were enrolled. The subjects had normal otologic exam and no previous history of chronic ear disease. Pure-tone audiometry and tympanometry were performed pre-operatively, and post-operative days 1 and 7, and months 1 and 3. Baseline and post-operative middle ear pressures (MEPs) in decipascals were compared. Statistical analysis was performed by repeated measures of ANOVA. Eight patients (8/30, 26.7 %) reported otologic complaints such as ear pressure and/or otalgia within 1 week post-operatively. No permanent otologic discomfort occurred. A trend toward reduced MEP was noted in this study. The decrease in MEP became apparent on post-operative day 1 after surgery. However, mean pressure changes were no longer significantly different from pre-operative values by 1 week after surgery. Pillar implantation for SDB induces changes in middle ear function. However, the changes were temporary and not significant 1 week after surgery.


Snoring Obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome Pillar implant OSA surgery Eustachian tube Middle ear function 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hsin-Ching Lin
    • 1
  • Michael Friedman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hsueh-Wen Chang
    • 4
  • Chi-Chih Lai
    • 1
  • Chien-Hung Chin
    • 5
  • Meng-Chih Lin
    • 5
  • Thomas Pott
    • 3
  • Christian Samuelson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of OtolaryngologySleep Center, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of MedicineKaohsiung CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryRush University Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of OtolaryngologyAdvanced Center for Specialty Care, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical CenterChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesNational Sun Yat-Sen UniversityKaohsiungTaiwan
  5. 5.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Sleep CenterKaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of MedicineKaohsiungTaiwan

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