Surgical Treatment of Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Get a Better, Healthier Night’s Sleep
When airflow during sleep causes the tissues of the palate and throat to vibrate, snoring occurs. Genetics, weight gain, or aging can cause these oral tissues to become loose, which further contributes to snoring during sleep. On its own, snoring is not dangerous, but it can be bothersome to others. In some cases, snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to evaluate the condition of soft tissues in the throat and determine the right treatment so that patients can sleep and breathe better. If you have been told that you snore loudly or wake up suddenly during sleep, you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. We encourage you to contact Avon Oral, Facial and Dental Implant Surgery in Avon, Glastonbury, and Enfield, CT, for a consultation with one of our board-certified oral surgeons.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by shallow breaths or long pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses or shallow breaths cause disruptions in the sleeping pattern, taking the sleeper from a deep sleep state to a lighter sleep state, sometimes to the point of waking.
Many patients discover they are suffering from sleep apnea after years of feeling very tired in the morning, despite thinking they slept all the way through the night. A diagnosis of sleep apnea will often be given based on a person’s medical history, but there are several tests that can be used to confirm the diagnosis. When sleep apnea is caused by a physical obstruction of the airway during sleep, it can often be treated surgically by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Sleep apnea patients are frequently referred to our practice for surgery by a sleep specialist or by a general physician.
When you have your consultation, our oral surgeons will be able to determine if you’re a candidate for surgical treatment. These procedures are usually simple enough to perform in the offices, depending on your condition’s severity.
Our office proudly offers EXPAREL®, the safe and long-lasting pain management option. It provides comfort following surgery and reduces or eliminates the need for narcotic medication. Learn more about EXPAREL.
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Most people think of snoring when they think of sleep apnea. While this is a common indicator of this condition, there are many other signs to look out for. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Sleepiness during the day
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory problems
- Unexplained headaches
- Difficulty performing work/school duties
If not diagnosed and treated properly, obstructive sleep apnea can cause certain serious health conditions including:
- High blood pressure/hypertension
- Heart disease/heart failure
- Heart attack
- Pulmonary hypertension
Generally, the procedures to correct snoring and sleep apnea involve removing, shrinking, or stiffening excess tissue in the mouth and throat, or possibly resetting the position of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both jaws to widen breathing passages.
Radiofrequency Coblation of the Palate/Coblation Assisted Palate Channeling/Uvulectomy
One of the treatments for snoring and sleep apnea that we provide at our practice is radiofrequency coblation of the palate, also known as coblation assisted palate channeling. This minimally invasive procedure uses radio frequency (RF) energy to reduce and tighten excess tissue of the soft tissues of the palate to help decrease the vibration and obstruction that typically causes snoring and sleep apnea. It is performed in our comfortable surgical suite under local anesthesia and generally takes about 20 minutes.
In a palate coblation procedure, the use of radio frequency (RF) energy is used to stimulate the body’s natural response to form scar tissue, which stiffens the soft palate during healing. Because palate coblation uses low-frequency RF energy, it does not typically cause as much discomfort as laser devices or other more invasive procedures. This procedure is often performed in conjunction with uvulectomy (removal of the uvula—the fleshy extension of tissue at the back of the palate that hangs above the throat).
Many of our patients who have undergone palate coblation/uvulectomy report a reduction in snoring within about 6 weeks. It is not always a permanent solution, but the procedure can provide years of relief and provides an excellent adjunct to nonsurgical treatment in selected patients. During your consultation appointment, the doctors at Avon Oral, Facial and Dental Implant Surgery will determine if you’re a candidate for this procedure.
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Central Connecticut's Oral Health Specialists
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