Different types of Surgeries for Sleep Apnea

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Different types of Surgeries for Sleep Apnea

Human upper airways or respiratory tract is responsible for performing many crucial functions including breathing, eating, tasting etc. Since, the airway collapses at multiple levels; multiple procedures are required to effectively treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea- one of the most dreadful sleep disorder these days.

If you have ever consulted a medical professional for your snoring or sleep apnea treatment, you are definitely familiar with the following three solutions: wearing a dental mouth piece, use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway pressure) mask or a Surgery.

As surgeries don’t require you to mount fixtures on face during sleep, patients may consider it as a convenient solution to sleep apnea treatment.  However, the type of surgery you opt for depends upon the results of sleep apnea test, cause of sleep apnea, detailed examination of upper airways and the level of obstruction.

Some of the surgical procedures that may help a person in a treatment for sleep apnea include:

UPPP- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

UPPP is believed to be a traditional surgery carried out as a treatment for sleep apnea. The procedure involves removal of the portion of the tissues from the rear of your mouth and top of your throat. In case tonsils are also present, they are usually removed during the process. Even though, this surgical method can give an immediate improvement to your sleep apnea problem, the success rate of this treatment for sleep apnea is around 50%.

After a careful assessment, it is determined which patients are good to undertake this surgery. The surgery is however performed in a hospital under general anesthesia where most of the patients are allowed to leave for home the following day.

After-surgery complications for UPPP may include infection, accumulation of mucus in the throat, weakening of throat muscles, swelling, loss of smell, change of voice etc. Many of these complications can be easily avoided if the surgery is performed by an experienced surgeon.

Maxillomandibular Advancement

In cases where the cause of sleep apnea is thought to be abnormal facial structure, maxillomandibular advancement surgery is conducted. In this procedure, the upper and the lower jaws are detached from the skull, moved forward and then reattached to create a space behind the tongue and soft palate, which will make the blocking of airway difficult.

Since the surgery involves changes in the facial features, it has a long recovery time. Further risks for this sleep apnea treatment may include long term jaw point issues depending upon your problem and the surgery success levels. However, cooperation of the oral surgeon and orthodontist can increase the likelihood of its success.

Tracheostomy

This is by far the most complicated surgery one could ever think about as a treatment for sleep apnea. In this, the surgeon will cut open a hole through your neck to your trachea and insert a metal or a plastic tube through it. You can keep the opening covered during the day and at night you can uncover it to allow air to pass in and out of your lungs.

The downside of this type of surgery for sleep apnea treatment is it can result in a host of physiological and health problems for the patients. Due to which, this surgery is only reserved for those apnea conditions that has turned life threatening or where other sleep apnea treatment have completely failed.

Genioglossus Advancement

In some patients seeking a sleep apnea treatment, their tongue tends to fall back to block the space for breathing in their throat. Genioglossus advancement is a surgical method in which, the largest muscle of the tongue, is anchored to the front, opening up a space for breathing behind the tongue. A rectangular piece of lower jaw is cut (where the tongue attaches) and that piece of bone is then pulled forward. The procedure is carried out with general anesthesia and involves a slit in the inner aspect of the lower lip. Even though, the method is less invasive, it is still thought to be less effective and non-permanent surgical method for sleep apnea treatment.

Surgery is not always an easy fix for Obstructive Sleep apnea treatment. As you must have discovered here that each surgery has a low rate of success and the success for any doesn’t mean the treatment is permanent, one should seriously consider trying a couple of non-surgical procedures before choosing surgery as a treatment for sleep apnea. Some other recommended options to start a treatment for sleep apnea are the use of CPAP mask, Oral dental appliances, positional therapies and other alternative cures for sleep apnea including tongue exercises, yoga, weight loss and sleep hygiene.

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