Surgery that moves the jaws forward can result in significant improvements in long-term quality of life—including functional outcomes and sleep quality—in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed long-term quality of life factors in patients who underwent maxillomandibular advancement (MMA), according to the study in the January issue of the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the official journal of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS).

The study’s 27 patients underwent follow-up examination for at least 5 years and at an average of nearly 13 years. They answered a questionnaire that asked about sleep quality, daytime function, as well as physical, mental, emotional, and sexual health.

Among the results, 88% of patients said they snored less, 82% said their sleep quality improved, and 77% said they experienced less difficulty remaining awake during the day. Patients also expressed contentment with the surgery: 76% were satisfied maxillomandibular advancement managed their OSA, 71% would undergo MMA again to treat their OSA, and 65% said they would recommend MMA to other OSA patients.

Patients also said they felt their speech quality or swallowing ability did not change, they experienced bearable pain after surgery, and they had a satisfactory facial appearance.

“The most significant subjective improvements were in the specific categories of personal satisfaction, sleep quality and functional outcomes,” researchers wrote. “These data tend to indicate that very long-term subjective improvements in (quality of life) issues from MMA for OSA are possible.”

No significant improvement or change occurred in some categories—including physical health and sexual desire—but their results could decrease with age even in those who do not undergo surgery, researchers wrote.