Is Surgery Required for Treatment of Sleep Apnea?

Surgery is only recommended after a diagnosis has been made through a sleep study, and all other treatment options have failed to cure a patient’s sleep apnea. Patients with a deviated septum, enlarged tonsils, small lower jaw, or narrow palates are commonly the most beneficial in having surgery for their sleep apnea, though. Surgical procedures are used to eliminate sleep apnea through enlarging and stabilizing the upper airways in order to make obstruction less likely to happen. Our Pasadena sleep apnea expert may recommend a variety of surgical treatment options for your sleep apnea.

Types of surgery used to eliminate sleep apnea include:

• Maxillomandibular Advancement, or MMA
This surgical procedure involves cutting bone through intraoral incisions to move the jaw forward from the other facial bones. It then tightens the soft palate, tongue and other tissue located in the back of the throat. This is considered the most effective surgical treatment for sleep apnea, with cases ranging from 94 to 100 percent for their success rate.

• Anterior Inferior Mandibular Osteotomy, or AIMO
This surgery includes the cutting of the chin bone through intraoral incisions to pull forward the tongue and anterior neck muscles.

• Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or UUP
UUP removes or trims the soft tissue located in the back of the throat and the bulky palate to increase the width of the airway. UUP treatment is often times combined with the removal of the tonsils or adenoids to be most successful. While this procedure can eliminate the vibration caused with snoring, it may not completely treat sleep apnea if the problem lies farther down the throat.

• Nasal Surgery
For patients suffering from a deviated septum that is causing the block in the airway, nasal surgery may be the best option for your sleep apnea. While septoplasty surgery can be done to straighten a deviated septum, turbinate surgery can remove or reduce any abnormal growths known as polyps.

• Tracheostomy
This surgical procedure is only chosen if all other forms of treatment or surgeries have failed and your sleep apnea is causing life-threatening complications. It involves making an incision in the windpipe to insert a metal or plastic tube that will allow you to pass the blockage and fully breathe at night. Even though tracheostomy surgery is considered the most therapeutic treatments, it is considered the last option due to resulting psychosocial problems associated with the treatment.

Determining the cause of the blockage is required before any of these surgical procedures are performed, as they are site-specific. While the most commonly performed surgeries for sleep apnea are the nasal surgery, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, and mandibular maxillar advancement surgery, patients can combine lifestyle changes with their treatment to improve their outcome. For patients living with obesity, weight reduction surgery may be another treatment option for treating sleep apnea if all other factors have been tried. For more information regarding sleep apnea surgery, schedule an appointment with our expert in sleep apnea surgery in Pasadena.


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