It is often hard enough to make it through the day with a good night of sleep behind you. Just imagine what more than 18 million Americans with sleep apnea experience. Most nights they do not sleep well, resulting in a loss of productivity and an increased risk of accidents throughout the day. Our sleep apnea specialist is able to provide relief for most patients with a dental mouthpiece or a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. For some, these appliances fail to do the trick, and something more involved is required.
Surgery for sleep apnea is a last resort for specialists, usually not pursued until patients have undergone three months of various other treatments. If your sleep apnea results from a structural problem with your jaw, you may benefit from surgery.
When patients pursue surgery for sleep apnea, they most often undergo one of the following procedures:
Repositioning the jaw
This procedure moves your jaw forward, broadening the area behind the tongue and soft palate. This diminishes your chances for airway obstruction. The help of an oral surgeon and/or an orthodontist may be required to ensure this surgery for sleep apnea is successfully performed.
This procedure is medically known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), during which the tissues from the top of the throat and the back of the mouth are removed. Often the adenoids and tonsils are also removed. Usually performed in a hospital setting, UPPP necessitates general anesthesia.
This procedure, known as the pillar procedure, involves surgically imbedding small plastic rods into the soft palate. Once the surrounding tissue heals, the soft palate stiffens, reducing throat relaxation, which is often the cause of snoring. This surgery for sleep apnea is a good option for those suffering from snoring or milder cases of sleep apnea. A local anesthetic is required.
Creating a new airway
This procedure, known as a tracheostomy, is only performed to treat severe cases of sleep apnea. A surgical opening is made in the neck to allow a plastic or metal tube to rest inside it. At night, this opening is uncovered to allow for smooth passage of air.
Contact our expert in sleep apnea to address any remaining questions you may have regarding sleep apnea treatment or surgery.