Why Some People Suffering From Sleep Apnea Need to Undergo Surgery

Every night, more than 18 million people in the U.S. aren’t getting the sleep they need (not to mention their bedmates) because of sleep apnea. Although the snoring and loud noises that come with obstructive sleep apnea pose a nuisance for those around you, the condition can have serious consequences when it comes to your health.

Here at Blue Ash Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. Randall Stastny and his team offer sleep-improving and, potentially, life-saving, surgery for patients who suffer from treatment-resistant sleep apnea in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area.

Here’s a look at why the solutions for sleep apnea may cross over into surgical territory.

More than snoring

The primary sign that sleep apnea is in play are the loud noises (snoring) that often accompany this condition. With obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of your throat collapse and block your airway. When this happens, your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs, so your brain rouses you to breathe again. This can happen over and over throughout the night, meaning you aren’t getting the oxygen, or sleep, you need.

But the complications of sleep apnea don’t stop there. Because your body is working harder to get oxygen, it can lead to high blood pressure and various cardiovascular issues, as well as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and other metabolic issues.

In other words, moderate-to-severe sleep apnea can be quite serious.

Breathing easier

Our primary goal when it comes to sleep apnea is to help prevent your airway from collapsing throughout the night. As a first line of defense, we turn to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices. This device, which fits over your mouth as you sleep, delivers air pressure that keeps the muscles at the back of your throat from relaxing to the point of closure.  Another way to help keep your airway open during sleep is by using an oral appliance, or mandibular repositioning device.  Though effective, these tools can be cumbersome and not for everyone. Some people still suffer from sleep apnea with them, and others find it difficult to ensure that the device is always available. In these instances, a surgical solution may provide the best answer for your problem.

A long-lasting solution

When we see patients who struggle with sleep apnea, despite trying more conservative methods, we typically recommend one of two surgeries:

Telegnathic maxillomandibular advancement

Using this technique, we move the upper and lower jaws forward in order to open up your airway. By lengthening your jaws in this way the tongue and soft palate will be moved forward.  This in turn helps achieve our goal of increasing the size of the airway.

AIRLIFT™

With this patented procedure, we use an integrated set of instruments and implants to perform a “hyoid suspension”.  This helps to open the airway and relieve obstructive sleep apnea.

There are other surgical options depending upon the conditions that are causing your sleep apnea, such as removing soft tissue in your throat or nose.

Choosing surgery

When it comes time for you to choose the best treatment for your sleep apnea, we understand that a surgical solution may give you pause. Rest assured that we work with you to explore all of your options so that you’re well-informed and well-educated when it comes time to choose the solution that works best for you. Our goal, and no doubt yours, is to put an end to your sleep problems and the risks for more serious complications.

The two surgeries listed above have good success rates, and we use the latest minimally invasive techniques to improve your recovery whenever possible.

If you’d like to explore your surgical options for sleep apnea, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.

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