Lateral pharyngoplasty manages obstructive sleep apnea through the myotomy and repositioning of the muscles of the lateral pharyngeal wall. Dysphagia after any pharyngeal surgery is influenced by pain, discomfort from the sutures, the healing process and by the adaptation to the changes in pharyngeal structures. Experience with lateral pharyngoplasty has shown that the superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle plays a minor role in swallowing. One of them, the stylopharyngeus muscle, seems to play an important role during swallowing.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to provide a daily analysis of the follow-up of the swallowing function.
METHOD: We have prospectively evaluated the swallowing function in 20 patients, through the daily application of a visual analogue scale from the first post-op until the complete disappearance of dysphagia.
RESULTS: Patients have returned to their normal feeding habits in a mean of 10.9 days after the procedures and they presented a completely normal swallowing, on average, 21.6 days after the surgeries. All patients recover normal swallowing after the procedures, with a maximum recovery time of 33 days.
CONCLUSION: In this study, all patients who underwent lateral pharyngoplasty with total preservation of the stylopharyngeus muscle reported complete normalization of swallowing with a recovery time up to 33 days.