Expansion sphincter pharyngoplasty is an innovative and advanced procedure on the soft palate (back of the roof of the mouth). The procedure involves repositioning the muscles (palatopharyngeus) behind the tonsils, pulling them forward. These muscles remain connected to the soft palate, so expansion sphincter pharyngoplasty pulls the soft palate forward and opens the space for breathing behind the soft palate. This procedure involves tonsillectomy for patients who have not had a previous tonsillectomy. Typically, the uvula is not removed.
This technique for soft palate surgery has shown benefits in certain patients with obstructive sleep apnea in a randomized trial compared with the simpler, traditional soft palate surgery technique (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty). Better results make the extra time and effort required to perform this procedure worthwhile. Because of this, expansion sphincter pharyngoplasty is one of the techniques that our surgeons use often in soft palate surgery.