Surgery - Surgical Procedures
There are many different types of surgery for sleep apnea. A board certified sleep medicine physician can help direct you to the surgical procedure that is right for you. They include:
This procedure removes excess tissue in the throat to make the airway wider. The surgeon trims down your soft palate. He or she may also remove your tonsils, adenoids and uvula, the tissue that hangs down from the back of the roof of your mouth. UPPP is one of the more common surgeries for sleep apnea.
Even if the surgery successfully removes tissues that block your airway, you may still need CPAP. It is very important to get follow up after the surgery.
Laser-assisted uvuloplasty (LAUP)
The surgeon makes cuts using a laser to scar and tighten the soft palate. The uvula is trimmed over a period of several visits. LAUP is not as effective as UPPP. The procedure is usually done for snoring, not sleep apnea. It is less painful and has fewer side effects than UPPP.
Radiofrequnecy Volumetric Tissue Reduction (RFVTR)
The surgeon uses energy waves to shrink the soft palate and base of your tongue. The energy is much like a microwave. This type of surgery is also known as somnoplasty.
Septoplasy and Turbinate Reduction
Both of these options open your nasal passage to improve the flow of air. Septoplasty straightens a bent septum, the bony divider between the two nostrils. A bent septum can block the flow of air. Turbinate reduction reduces or removes the curved bones along the wall of the nasal passage and the tissues that stick out from the mucous lining of the nose
Maxillomandibular osteotomy (MMO) and advancement (MMA)
This type of surgery pulls your upper and/or lower jaw forward and tightens the soft tissue to enlarge the entire upper airway. A surgeon will need to make cuts into the bones of your jaw. Your jaw may be wired shut for several weeks after the procedure.
Anterior Inferior Mandibular osteotomy (AIMO) with hyoid suspension
This procedure divides your chin bone to pull the tongue forward. The surgeon will also adjust the hyoid bone, the u-shaped bone in the front of your neck. AIMO is not as effective as MMA, but does not require your jaw to be wired shut.
The surgeon can bypass your entire upper airway by cutting a hole into the windpipe in your neck and inserting a hollow tube to keep the hole open. You will have to breathe through the tube instead of your mouth or nose. A tracheostomy is a very effective - and drastic - surgical procedure. It is rarely used to treat sleep apnea and is only used in emergency situations.
Laser midline glossectomy (LMG) and lingualplasty
These two surgeries remove part of the back half of your tongue. These procedures are rarely performed.
Weight loss surgery
Bariatric surgery can promote weight loss and may improve sleep apnea. A gastric bypass can reduce the size of the stomach, forcing you to eat less. This is only effective when obesity is the primary cause of sleep apnea and is considered a last resort for people who cannot overcome obesity.
If you think you may have sleep apnea or need surgery, find a board certified sleep medicine physician at an AASM-Accredited Sleep Center near you.