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The Utility of Early Tongue Reduction Surgery for Macroglossia in Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome.

BACKGROUND: Macroglossia, a cardinal feature of the (epi)genetic disorder Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, is associated with obstructive sleep apnea, speech and/or feeding difficulties, and dental or jaw malalignment. These sequelae may be treated and/or prevented with tongue reduction surgery; the authors sought to determine whether certain Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome patients may benefit from early surgical intervention before age 12 months.

METHODS: The authors conducted a retrospective review of patients with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome who underwent tongue reduction from 2014 to 2019. The authors assessed primary outcomes of change in obstructive sleep apnea by polysomnography, respiratory support required, and feeding route before and after tongue reduction, and reviewed postoperative complications and the need for repeated tongue reduction.

RESULTS: Of the 36 patients included, the median age at tongue reduction was 9.5 months (interquartile range, 3.8 to 22.8 months). For those with severe obstructive sleep apnea, there was a significant reduction in the obstructive apnea hypopnea index from 30.9 ± 21.8 per hour to 10.0 ± 18.3 per hour (p =0.019) and improvement in nadir oxyhemoglobin saturation from 72 ± 10 percent to 83 ± 6 percent (p =0.008). Although there was no significant change in overall supplemental feeding tube or respiratory support, there were specific patients who experienced clinically meaningful improvement. Of note, these positive outcomes applied equally to those who underwent surgery at a younger age (<12 months). To date, only one patient required a repeated tongue reduction.

CONCLUSION: Based on improved polysomnographic findings and rarity of surgical complications or repeated surgery, the authors' data support the safety and efficacy of this early intervention when clinical indications are present and an experienced multidisciplinary team is available for consultation.


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