Sleep Apnea Surgery
The goal of surgery for sleep apnea is to remove excess tissue from your nose or throat that may be vibrating and causing you to snore or that may be blocking your upper air passages and causing sleep apnea. Surgical options may include:
In this procedure, the upper and lower part of your jaw is moved forward from the remainder of your face bones. This enlarges the space behind the tongue and soft palate, making obstruction less likely. This procedure may require the cooperation of an oral surgeon and an orthodontist, and at times may be combined with another procedure to improve the likelihood of success.
Removing tissues in the back of your throat with a laser (laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty) or with radio frequency energy (radio frequency ablation) are procedures that doctors sometimes use to treat snoring. Although sometimes these procedures are combined with others, they aren't usually recommended as sole treatments for obstructive sleep apnea.
You may need this form of surgery if other treatments have failed and you have severe, life-threatening sleep apnea. In this procedure, your surgeon makes an opening in your neck and inserts a metal or plastic tube through which you breathe. You keep the opening covered during the day. But at night you uncover it to allow air to pass in and out of your lungs, bypassing the blocked air passage in your throat.
During this procedure, the doctor removes tissue from the rear of your mouth and top of your throat. Your tonsils and adenoids usually are removed as well. This type of surgery may be successful in stopping throat structures from vibrating and causing snoring. However, it may be less successful in treating sleep apnea because tissue farther down your throat may still block your air passage. UPPP usually is performed in a hospital and requires a general anesthetic.
Other types of surgery may help reduce snoring and contribute to the treatment of sleep apnea by clearing or enlarging air passages:
- Nasal surgery to remove polyps or straighten a crooked partition between your nostrils (deviated nasal septum)
- Surgery to remove enlarged tonsils or adenoids
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