Surgical Treatments for Sleep Disorders
While there are many surgical options, the area of obstruction could be anywhere in the upper respiratory tract including the ear, nose and throat, so the procedure must address the patient’s problem.
The most common and effective surgical methods are:
- Nasal Surgery – This is the most common and consists of septoplasty and turbinate reduction. This is an outpatient procedure that realigns the septum, and reduces the size of the turbinates creating more room in the nose for air to pass through easily.
- UPPP (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasy) – This is a procedure used to remove excess tissue in the throat (soft palate, pharynx and tonsils) to widen the airway allowing air to move more easily.
- Pillar Procedure – This involves placing three rods into the soft palate to make it stiffer. The stiffer soft palate is less likely to make contact with the back wall of the pharynx during sleep so snoring and sleep apnea are reduced.
- Hyoid Advancement – Patients with sleep apnea often have a large tongue base which falls back during sleep and makes contact with the back wall of the pharynx causing obstruction. The hyoid bone is the one in the neck. The muscles of the tongue base and pharynx attach to the hyoid bone. During this procedure the hyoid bone is surgically repositioned resulting in expansion of the airway.
- Tongue Advancement – This procedure advances one of the main tongues muscles, the genioglossus, forward which keeps it from falling backward during sleep.