Surgical Options for Alleviating Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea means that your upper airway is being obstructed while you sleep. It may be because of large tonsils, excess tissue, or a large tongue, but it may also be because of your airway muscles (which relax and collapse during sleep), nasal passages, and your jaw's position.
A diagnosis of sleep apnea usually means you have more than 30 apneas in the span of a seven-hour sleep. In severe cases, your periods of not breathing may last for as long as 60 - 90 seconds and can happen up to 500 times a night.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition, suffered by millions. This disorder can leave you tired no matter how much sleep you get, which can result in accidents and lowered productivity and can cause heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.
There are a few different surgical options that can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms and allow you to live a healthier life:
- Hyoid Suspension - The hyoid bone is located above the thyroid cartilage (more commonly known as Adam's apple). During a hyoid suspension, the hyoid bone is secured to the thyroid cartilage to stabilize this section of your airway.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) - This procedure is used to shorten and stiffen the soft palate by partially removing your uvula and reducing the soft palate's edge.
- Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) – During this procedure, your upper and lower jaws will be moved forward, along with the tissues of the tongue and palate. This will open your upper airway. For some people, an MMA is the only procedure that can create the necessary passageway for air.
- Genioglossus Advancement (GGA) - This procedure will tighten the front tongue tendon, reducing the amount of tongue that is displaced into the throat. This procedure is often performed in addition to one of the other procedures, such as UPPP or hyoid suspension.