Surgery - Overview
Surgery may be a part of the treatment plan for some patients with obstructive sleep apnea. There are numerous surgical therapies a board certified sleep medicine physician may recommend if you cannot tolerate wearing a CPAP mask or an oral appliance while you sleep. For patients who have no compliance issues, surgery is not as effective as either sleep apnea treatment.
Some surgeries are minimally invasive, others are much more complex. The most common procedures reduce or eliminate the tissue in your throat. This tissue collapses and blocks your airway during your sleep. These surgeries may focus on the:
- Soft palate
- Uvula, tonsils and adenoids
Other types of surgeries can adjust your bone structure. Weight loss surgery is also an option that may help to reduce the severity of sleep apnea in overweight or obese patients.
Treating obstructive sleep apnea through surgery is frequently a team effort. The board-certified sleep medicine physician collaborates with members his team to provide the highest quality of care.
The physician will detect and diagnose your sleep apnea. He or she will need to perform a detailed examination of the entire upper airway before discussing your possible treatment options. The physician may direct you to an otolaryngologist (ENT) or oral surgeon who can perform the procedure. After the surgery is complete, you will need to follow up with a board-certified sleep medicine physician.
If you are considering surgery to treat your sleep apnea, make sure to ask your health provider the following two questions:
- What is the success rate of the surgery?
- What are all of the possible risks and side effects?
Surgery is not the right choice for everyone. Some people may benefit more from surgery than others. Negative aspects of surgery may include:
- Throat swelling
- Jaw wired shut for several weeks
- Overnight hospital stay
In many cases, the benefits may not be permanent. Sleep apnea may reoccur at a later time for some patients.