To investigate the lingual artery (LA) position in the tongue base through intraoperative ultrasound (IOU) imaging during transoral robotic surgery (TORS) and evaluate bleeding complications with or without the assistance of IOU.
Cohort study with historical control.
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who underwent TORS for tongue base resection were recruited since 2016. During surgery, ultrasound imaging was employed to identify anatomic parameters of the LA in the tongue base, including distance to the midline and arterial depth and diameter.
Ninety-three OSA patients (82 men, 88.2%) were analyzed. Mean age was 42.2 ± 10.0 years and body mass index was 29.2 ± 4.5 kg/m . Average apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was 58.1 ± 21.4 events/hour. Overall, 70 patients who underwent TORS with IOU had a shorter operation time (191.7 ± 3.8 vs. 220.1 ± 6.6 minutes), lower total blood loss (11.3 ± 10.8 vs. 19.6 ± 26.7 mL), and higher tongue base reduction volume (7.1 ± 2.5 vs. 3.9 ± 1.6 mL) than 23 patients who underwent TORS without IOU. Significant predictors of arterial depth included higher AHI level during the rapid eye movement sleep (P = .038), larger tonsil size (P = .034), and more elevated Friedman tongue position (P = .012). Postoperative complications associated with LA injury were not found in patients subjected to IOU.
With the assistance of IOU, surgeons can confidently determine LA position. The use of IOU can maximize efficiency and minimize catastrophic bleeding complications when OSA patients undergo TORS for tongue base resection.
4 Laryngoscope, 2020.

© 2020 American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society Inc, “The Triological Society” and American Laryngological Association (ALA).
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