Surgical Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If severe obstructive sleep apnea does not respond to other less invasive therapy, surgery may be appropriate. After all other forms of treatment are exhausted, surgery can correct your specific type of obstructive. It is important to be informed about the risks and effectiveness inherent in any operation.

Nasal Surgery

This surgery is performed in a hospital ambulatory surgical center. Nasal breathing is commonly obstructed in those with OSA. Nasal problems may be attributed to a variety of issues, such as turbinate tissue overgrowth, a deviated septum or a collapse or narrowing of the nasal valve. Nasal surgery is a great option to improve nasal breathing through a number of different surgical interventions such as turbinate reduction, septoplasty or enlarging the nasal valve.

Turbinate Reduction

This procedure is performed in a surgery center unassociated with a particular hospital under general anesthesia. Turbinate reduction reduces the small bony structures on either side of the nostrils which cause a blockage in nasal breathing that can aggravate OSA or allergies. There is no cutting through the skin involved as the surgery is performed through the nostrils. It is often performed in conjunction with a septoplasty. Complications may include bleeding, dryness and scarring.

Septoplasty

This procedure is performed in a surgery center unassociated with a particular hospital under general anesthesia. A crooked nasal septum, which is the flesh that divides the nostrils, can block nasal breathing. When adequate relief is not provided by medication, surgical intervention can help. An incision is made inside the nostril and the crooked parts of the deviated septum are either removed or reshaped. The shape of the nose is not changed in this procedure.

Tonsillectomy

This procedure is performed in a surgery center unassociated with a particular hospital under general anesthesia. Tonsillectomy is often used to treat OSA in children in conjunction with an adenoidectomy. The enlarged tonsils are removed in order to free up the airway. It improves snoring and sleep apnea. The operation is done on an outpatient basis and usually patients may return to their normal activities after one or two weeks.

Pharyngoplasty

This surgery is performed in a surgery center under general anesthesia. Excessive soft palate tissue can cause airway obstruction in OSA. Tissue from the palate/or back of the throat is removed in order to increase the size of the airway. Tonsillectomy is sometimes performed in conjunction with this procedure. Sometimes overnight hospitalization is recommended. The patient may return to work after 10-14 days.

Pillar

This surgery is performed in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia in less than 20 minutes. Patients resume normal activities afterwards. This minor surgical procedure is intended to correct habitual snoring for those with mild to moderate OSA. The procedure involves placing small polyester rods in the soft palate. During the healing process, the tissue around the implants will stiffen the soft palate and reduce the relaxation and vibration of the tissue which causes snoring.

Uvulopalatal Flap (UPPP)

This procedure is performed in a hospital surgery center under general anesthesia. The airway is improved by tissue rearrangement in this procedure through lifting the soft palate to widen the airway. A tonsillectomy is performed with the uvulopalatal flap. The procedure takes approximately one hour and overnight hospitalization is usually recommended afterward.

Maxillomandibular Advancement

This procedure is performed in a hospital surgery center under general anesthesia. This highly effective surgery for moderate to severe OSA enlarges the airway by moving the upper and lower jaw forward. The surgery takes approximately three to four hours and hospitalization is required for up to three days. The patient may return to work after about four weeks.

Genioglossus Advancement

This procedure is performed in a hospital surgery center under general anesthesia. The tongue is often a cause of upper airway blockage for patients with OSA. When the tongue collapses toward the back of the throat during sleep, the airway is further obstructed. The tongue is repositioned so that it is less likely to collapse and block the airway during sleep. The surgery takes approximately 30 minutes and overnight hospitalization is usually recommended. Patients may return to work within two weeks. Pain, swelling and some numbness of the lower front teeth may occur.

Maxillomandibular Expansion

This procedure is performed in a hospital surgery center under general anesthesia. Many OSA patients have narrowed jaws which can result in displacement of the tongue toward the back of the throat which results in airway obstruction. The upper and lower jaws are widened to improve the airway. An orthodontic device, a distractor, is placed onto the jaw during the procedure that will expand (distract) the jaw. The distraction process takes approximately two weeks. The surgery takes about two or three hours and overnight hospitalization is usually required. Most patients can return to work within two to three weeks.

To learn more about obstructive sleep apnea surgical treatment options, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563.