Introduction: We hypothesized that the size of the hyoid bone itself may affect the severity of sleep apnea. The aim of this study was to identify the relationship between hyoid bone dimensions and the severity of sleep apnea using computerized tomography (CT) axial images. Methods: We retrospectively measured the hyoid bone in axial images of neck CTs and correlated these measurements with results of polysomnography in a total of 106 male patients. The new hyoid bone parameters studied in this study were as follows: distance between bilateral lesser horns (LH-d), distance between bilateral greater horns (GH-d), distance from the most anterior end of the hyoid arch to GH-d (AP), distance from the greater to the lesser horn on right and left sides (GHLH), and the anterior angle between bilateral extensive lines from the greater to the lesser horn (H-angle). Data was analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression, and Pearson correlation tests. Results: We found a significant inverse correlation between the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and GH-d or AP. Neither the LH-d, GH-LH, nor H-angle were associated with the AHI. The patient group that met the criteria of both GH-d,45<4 and AP,33<4 demonstrated the most severe AHI. Conclusion: The lateral width or antero-posterior length of hyoid bone was associated with AHI and predicted the severity of sleep apnea in male patients. This finding supports the role of expansion hyoidplasty for treatment of sleep apnea. Preoperative consideration of these parameters may improve surgical outcomes in male patients with sleep apnea.
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