Oral Surgeon in Houston Offers Sleep Apnea Treatment
Patients suffering from sleep apnea are often prescribed CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure therapy. While this route can be effective for moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea, many people find they are unable to comply with the instructed treatment. They may find the mask too tight to sleep with or find the constant flow of air to be uncomfortable. These patients are what we call “CPAP intolerant” -- and for them, finding an alternate treatment is of the utmost importance. This may mean a procedure from your oral surgeon in Houston, Drs. Tom Weil or Steve Koo of Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Keep reading to learn about the surgical treatment options available for cases of sleep apnea.
Surgical Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
During a consultation, your Houston oral surgeon will evaluate your case to determine which method of sleep apnea treatment will serve you best. The following procedures will be considered as options.
Usually a simple outpatient procedure, nasal surgery is highly effective in the treatment of sleep apnea. The goal is often to straighten out the septum and reduce the size of what is causing the blockage, creating more space for air to move freely from the lungs through the nose.
This stands for uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and is the most common surgical procedure for sleep apnea. By removing excess tissue from the soft palate and pharynx (as well as the tonsils, if present), the upper airway is cleared to allow for easier breathing throughout the night. This procedure may require a night in the hospital for recovery.
The Pillar Procedure
A minimally-invasive treatment, the Pillar Procedure involves putting three pillars (actually small rods) into the soft palate to encourage inflammation. The response causes the area to stiffen, preventing the collapse of the soft tissue palate which causes snoring and sleep apnea.
The hyoid bone lives at the back of the neck and is where the tongue and pharynx attach. Patients who have a large tongue base may develop sleep apnea when the tongue collapses during sleep and blocks the flow of air. By repositioning the hyoid bone, an accommodation is made to prevent this blockage.
Since the tongue has a big impact on sleep apnea, by repositioning it (either moving it forward or by removing some tissues), we can help to prevent its collapse and allow the air to move freely throughout the night.
Lower Jaw Advancement
Patients with small and/or narrow jaws also have a smaller airway, which can increase the risk of sleep apnea. By advancing the lower jaw, or bringing it forward, we can open the upper airway to make breathing easier.
When other treatment options will not provide adequate help, a tracheostomy may be the best decision. This is a procedure where the air is rerouted directly through the trachea, bypassing any obstructions. It is a permanent solution that your oral surgeons in Houston will recommend only in the most severe cases of sleep apnea.
Schedule a Consultation Today
No matter which surgical treatment for sleep apnea is best for you, the most important thing is seeking a solution sooner rather than later. Left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a host of health issues including, in the worst cases, death. Drs. Koo and Weil offer surgical solutions for obstructive sleep apnea -- so do not hesitate to contact your Houston oral surgeons to schedule a consultation today.
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