The majority of people with sleep apnea experience mild to moderate symptoms ranging from snoring to morning headaches to insomnia. Oftentimes these symptoms are not debilitating, though they do interfere with our sleeping and waking lives. People with sleep apnea may notice low energy levels throughout the day, and compared to non-sufferers, are at twice the risk of being in a car accident. Doctors often first recommend lifestyle changes as remedies for sleep apnea. These often include weight loss, alcohol abstinence, or a change in sleeping position. When these and other treatment methods like dental appliances and breathing machines fall short of producing results, surgery may be recommended.
When a deviated septum is to blame for snoring or disrupted air flow, nasal surgery can often help increase airflow through the nose. This type of surgery is not a cure-all for sleep apnea. As far as remedies for sleep apnea go, nasal surgery may require combining with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) to produce significant results.
Also known as maxillomandibular advancement (MMA), this surgery involves fracturing both the upper and lower jaws and moving them forward, enlarging the airway. This has proven to be one of the most effective surgical remedies for sleep apnea, though it involves a relatively high risk to the patient and a long recovery period.
Upper Airway Surgery
A uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is the most common of all surgical remedies for sleep apnea. This surgery involves removal of extra tissues from the sides of the throat as well as the uvula. During this procedure, the soft palate is shortened. Hospitalization is required for this surgery, and recovery can take up to several weeks. Post-surgery, snoring is often significantly improved, though the majority of patients do not notice serious improvement regarding their obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
This surgery involves crafting an entirely new airway in the throat, which is stopped with a plug during the day and opened up at night. This surgery is still used to treat extremely severe cases of sleep apnea.
For questions regarding sleep apnea treatment and surgery, schedule a consultation with our sleep apnea dentist, who will be happy to help you find answers.