Surgical Correction of Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is usually a multifactorial problem that causes disturbed or temporary cessation of breathing at night. The sufferer may wake up many times during the night resulting in a very poor quality of sleep and additional health problems such as insomnia, high blood pressure, increased heart disease risk, increased baseline cortisol levels, and pulmonary hypertension. There are many non-surgical treatments for sleep apnea including avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills, and other sedatives at night. More advanced non- surgical treatments include wearing a CPAP facial mask, medications, and oral splints, however in some more severe cases surgical correction may be more effective.

Can sleep apnea be surgically corrected?

Sleep apnea in some patients may be the result of having an airway that is too small. This is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In some people, the ideal treatment for obstructive sleep apnea may be to move the jaws forward via jaw surgery in a natural and aesthetically pleasing way. This technique may improve sleep apnea significantly.

How does surgical correction of sleep apnea work?

The facial skeleton supports the soft tissues of the face and airway. By moving the jaws forward in a natural and aesthetically pleasing way, we can improve sleep apnea significantly with many of our patients so that they may no longer need to wear a breathing mask at night. Typically, sleep apnea surgery is coordinated with your ENT, Sleep Medicine Specialist, Orthodontist, and general practitioner. Close coordination of all involved providers results in better results and improvement for the patient. (Please note: not all cases of obstructive sleep apnea can be relieved with jaw surgery. In some people a non-surgical treatment may work better.)