Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an illness characterized by a repetitive and intermittent narrowing of the airway when one is sleeping. Treatment of OSA using surgical therapies aim to enhance airway patency by addressing specific part(s) of obstructions. Since various areas may each be responsible for the narrowing, several surgical modalities have been developed as well.
Introduction to Sleep Apnea Surgery
Surgery can be a multi-step procedure that involves more than one process. It is essential to follow up frequently with your physician after surgery.
An Overview of the Various Sleep Apnea Surgeries for Snoring
1. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPP)
It is a type of soft palate procedure that targets the back and top part of your mouth. It entails repositioning and removing excess tissues in the throat to widen the airway. The surgeon may trim down the uvula and soft palate, remove tonsils and reposition the soft palate muscles.
Although UPP is one of the most common types of sleep apnea surgery, the procedure is unlikely to cure severe apnea. However, it may be combined with different surgeries which target other sites for optimal results.
2. Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction (RFVTR)
RFVTR is a treatment procedure for individuals with mild to moderate sleep apnea symptoms. It makes use of measured cauterization to tighten and shrink the tissues located in and around the victim’s throat. It can be applied to the tonsils, tongues, and soft palate.
3. Genioglossus Advancement
The tongue may block the space for breathing in the throat during sleep. So, this surgery process helps to move forward the main tongue attachment, thereby opening up space for breathing. It involves cutting a section of the lower jaw where the tongue is attached. The procedure is effective when done appropriately.
As you begin to see, a lot of this surgery involves removing parts of your body, trimming things so-to-speak, and many people report that corrective surgery simply is not worth the long term side effects vs. its efficacy. In other words, is the surgery worth it? Does it work to make life easier for you?
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4. Lingualplasty and midline glossectomy
These surgery options involve removing the back of the tongue. In doing so, the tongue becomes smaller in size and hence does not block the flow of air among people with sleep apnea.
5. Hyoid Suspension
This procedure widens the breathing space within the lower part of the throat. The U-shaped bone in the neck called the hyoid bone provides a base support to the tongue and other structures of the throat including epiglottis.
Hyoid suspension entails pulling forward the hyoid bone and securing it in place. So how does Hyoid suspension for sleep apnea compare to the other surgeries? It is seen as generally less effective.
6. Turbinate Reduction and Septoplasty
These surgical procedures open up the nasal passage to enhance the air flow. On one hand, Septoplasty straightens a deviated nasal septum or a bent (a divider which separates the two sides of the nose). While on the other, Turbinate reduction removes or reduces curved structures which stick out from the side of the nose. Also, medication can help reduce turbinate sized Nasal Airways Aggravate Snoring and Sleep Apnea
A deviated septum arises when the septum is moved to one side of the nose. A septoplasty surgery takes between 30 – 90 minutes to complete. You will be under anesthesia, depending on what the doctor decides.
Typically, the surgical procedure for deviated septum involves the following steps:
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Step 2 – The incision
Step 3 – Mucosal lining separation
Step 4 – Deviated septum correction
Step 5 – Closing the incision
Step 6 – See the results