Consider Your Options for Sleep Apnea

If you often wake unrefreshed in the mornings and find that you’re dragging yourself through your day, you could have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that affects an estimated 22 million Americans. 

Because it occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they’re living with the effects of sleep apnea. Up to 80% of people with moderate to severe sleep apnea are undiagnosed. 

At Southern ENT, we want you to know the dangers of sleep apnea and the available options to treat your condition so you can reclaim your sleep and improve your quality of life. If you’re struggling with symptoms of sleep apnea, our team of otolaryngologists and head and neck surgeons can help.

Sleep apnea overview

Sleep apnea causes frequent pauses in breathing during sleep. This repeated interruption in breathing starves the body of oxygen. People with sleep apnea stop breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time and, in severe cases, can stop breathing as many as 400 times in a night. 

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea and occurs when the airway at the back of your throat becomes blocked. If you are overweight or obese or have a large neck circumference, you’re at a greater risk of developing OSA. 

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

Sleep apnea is dangerous to your health. Left untreated, sleep apnea raises the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and abnormal cholesterol.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are commonly used to treat moderate to severe OSA in adults. A flexible tube connects the machine with a device that you wear over your nose alone or your nose and mouth. 

CPAP machines keep air flowing through your airway to prevent lapses in oxygen intake. While this option is effective, it isn’t for everyone. Many people find it difficult to adjust to wearing CPAP machine masks. Some find them uncomfortable or find themselves removing the mask during sleep. 

Surgical treatment for sleep apnea

A wide array of surgical options can bring you lasting relief from sleep apnea. A consultation with one of our head and neck surgeons is the first step in determining the treatment that is right for you. We perform a comprehensive evaluation to closely evaluate your nose and throat.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

Soft palate surgery is the most widely used surgical approach to treating OSA in adults and involves removing excess tissue in the throat to widen the airway. We may remove your tonsils and trim down areas such as the uvula. 

We may combine this surgery with another surgery to address your sleep apnea. 

Nasal surgery

Some patients with obstructive sleep apnea have issues such as enlarged turbinates, deviated septum, and narrowed sinuses. In these cases surgical options may include:

Radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction (RVTR)

If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, we may recommend radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction. This procedure involves using cauterization to tighten and shrink the tissues in and around the airway in your throat. 

Maxillomandibular osteotomy and advancement

We may recommend maxillomandibular osteotomy (MMO) and advancement if your sleep apnea is severe. This surgical option involves repositioning your upper and/or lower jaw forward to increase the breathing space in your airway. 

If you’re struggling with symptoms of sleep apnea, we have extensive experience providing surgical sleep apnea treatment. Contact us to schedule your initial consultation to discuss your case and treatment options. 

Our Southern ENT offices are located in Thibodaux, Houma, Raceland, Morgan City, New Iberia, Opelousas, and Youngsville, Louisiana.

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