What are permanent treatments for sleep apnea?
In most cases, surgery will only be considered if other therapies have failed to work or haven’t been appropriate for you. The following are some surgical options:
• Removing tissue through surgery.
The uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) procedure involves your doctor removing tissue from the back of your mouth and the top of your throat. It may also include removing your tonsils and adenoids. UPPP is commonly performed in a hospital under general anesthesia.
• Stimulation of the upper airways.
People with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea are eligible for this device if they can’t tolerate CPAP or BPAP. A small, thin electrode (hypoglossal nerve stimulator) is implanted underneath the skin in the upper chest.
The device monitors your breathing patterns, and the nerve that controls the movement of your tongue is stimulated when necessary. Several studies have shown that upper airway stimulation significantly improves the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and improves the quality of life.
• Jaw surgery (maxillomandibular advancement).
During this procedure, your jaw’s upper and lower part is moved forward from the rest of your facial bones. This reduces the likelihood of obstruction by increasing the space behind the tongue and soft palate.
• Surgical opening in the neck (tracheostomy).
Surgery may be necessary if you have severe, life-threatening obstructive sleep apnea and no other treatment has worked. An introduction is made in your neck so your surgeon can insert a metal or plastic tube so that you can breathe through it. The air passes through your lungs without going through the blocked airway in your throat.
By clearing or enlarging air passages, other types of surgery may help reduce snoring and sleep apnea. Removing polyps or straightening a crooked partition between your nostrils (a deviated septum) in your nose may also work. Tonsils and adenoids are also removed during surgery.