Surgery is beneficial in obstructive sleep apnea when patient’s symptoms do not improve after the first line of conservative treatment. Many patients pursue non-invasive treatments for sleep apnea initially, but patients may consult with a sleep apnea surgeon if their symptoms do not improve.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the mouth collapse during sleep and cover up the opening to the airway. This causes the patient to stop breathing repeatedly for very brief periods of time throughout the night.
Night guards reposition some of the structures of the mouth, such as the tongue or the jaw, in order to prevent this obstruction of the airway.
A sleep apnea surgeon must get involved if the night guard is ineffective due to a defect in either the size and shape of the nasal passages or the fit of the jaw, either of which may need to be corrected surgically. Some of the procedures may also target the soft tissues that interfere with breathing.
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea will notice numerous symptoms, including daytime drowsiness and a persistent pattern of morning headaches. A sleeping partner may alert the patient to the telltale pattern of apparent stops in breathing. When experiencing such symptoms, the patient can complete a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis.
This condition has been linked with serious health problems like stroke and high blood pressure, so it’s important to seek effective treatment if you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Additionally, you’ll get more restful sleep and enjoy a better quality of life.
Some patients may be reluctant to consider surgery, but it can have dramatic results for patients who have not found other approaches to be effective.
Sleep apnea can have significant consequences for your health and well being, so if you have tried conservative measures, like a night guard, with minimal success, consider your options for a surgical treatment that can effectively address the problem. Schedule a consultation with our sleep apnea surgeon, Dr. Larry M. Wolford, to learn more.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Larry Wolford’s office using our online contact form or call 214-828-9115.