Sleep apnea is what happens when your upper airway becomes obstructed during sleep. There are a few reasons this may occur, including enlarged tonsils, excess tissue, or a large tongue. However, it can also happen because of the airway muscles, the position of the jaw, or irregular nasal passages. If you have a diagnosis of sleep apnea, this means that you’ve experienced more than 30 apneas over 7 hours of sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea is very dangerous and can be potentially life-threatening. The disorder can cause you to be overly tired, even if you feel like you’re getting enough sleep, which can lead to lowered productivity and accidents. Sleep apnea has also been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Surgical Options for Sleep Apnea
Below are a few surgical options that can help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea and allow you to live a healthier life:
Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) – In this procedure, your upper and lower jawbones will be moved forward, as will the tissues of the tongue and palate. This will open your upper airway, alleviating sleep apnea symptoms. For some people, an MMA is the only procedure that can help to create the necessary passageway for air.
Hyoid Suspension - Your hyoid bone is located above the thyroid cartilage (which is more commonly known as an Adam's apple). During the procedure of a hyoid suspension, the hyoid bone is secured to the thyroid cartilage to help stabilize this section of the airway.
Genioglossus Advancement (GGA) - This procedure will tighten the front tongue tendon, which will reduce the amount of tongue muscle 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.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – Lastly, a UPPP is used to shorten and stiffen the soft palate. This is done by partially removing the uvula and reducing the edge of the soft palate.
For more information about the procedures used to correct sleep apnea, please contact Auburn Family Dental. Our family dentist is located here in Wichita, KS.