Surgery Options for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects both men and women of all ages and is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can last for a few seconds to over a minute, and they can occur over 30 times per hour. Sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems, including daytime fatigue, headaches, and cardiovascular issues. Surgery is usually not the first option for sleep apnea treatment; however, it can be an effective treatment when other therapies fail. In this article, we will discuss the surgical treatment options for sleep apnea and detail other treatment options too so you can make an informed decision with your doctor about the right treatment plan for you.

Share This Post

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects both men and women of all ages and is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep.

These pauses can last for a few seconds to over a minute, and they can occur over 30 times per hour. Sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems, including daytime fatigue, headaches, and cardiovascular issues.

Surgery is usually not the first option for sleep apnea treatment; however, it can be an effective treatment when other therapies fail.

In this article, we will discuss the surgical treatment options for sleep apnea and detail other treatment options too so you can make an informed decision with your doctor about the right treatment plan for you.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which you have pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.

This can be caused by a number of different reasons but usually happens because there is a blockage in the upper airway during sleep.

Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound. It usually is a chronic condition that is present for years but is treatable.

Both men and women can suffer from it although being a man, obese, or elderly increases your chances of having it.

Not all apneas, which are the name for the pauses in breathing, are the same. Three different types exist and which one you have may affect your treatment plan.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type and occurs due to a blockage in your upper airway while sleeping.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when your brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Complex sleep apnea or mixed sleep apnea (MSA) is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea and is the rarest form.

If sleep apnea continues, it can lead to serious health problems including high blood pressure and heart disease. It is important to get sleep apnea diagnosed so you can find the treatment that works best for you to improve your quality of life.

sleep apnea surgery
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Illustration

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

The most common sleep apnea symptom is loud snoring. You may also experience:

  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
  • Trouble staying asleep at night which is also known as insomnia
  • Dry mouth or a sore throat
  • Trouble concentrating due to tiredness
  • Irritability or mood changes while awake
  • Morning headaches

If you have sleep apnea you may experience one or more of these symptoms. Please talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience these effects of sleep apnea.

What causes sleep apnea?

Your airway can become narrow or blocked for various reasons. Normal sleep may cause your throat muscles to relax more than usual, causing a blockage in the airway.

The tissue at the back of your throat can also be oversized which increases the risk of sleep apnea.

In adults, obesity increases the chances of sleep apnea but is not the only risk factor. Other risk factors include:

  • Being male or postmenopausal female
  • Having a large neck circumference (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
  • A narrowed airway due to enlarged tonsils, tongue, adenoids, or uvula
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Drinking alcohol or taking sedatives at night

The sleep apnea risk factors are not the only causes of sleep apnea. Some people have sleep apneas that have no obvious cause, though they may still benefit from Sleep apnea treatment options.

Need to see a sleep specialist 😴 🩺 in your zip code TODAY? Here is our recommendation:

Find Sleep Doctors in your Zip code that take your insurance with ZOCDOC.

>>>> Click here and see a sleep doctor TODAY. <<<<

Pros: ✅Takes Insurance, ✅Finds Available appointments today for in person or Telehealth, ✅User Friendly, ✅ Prescriptions Available

Cons: 🚫 Some geographical limitations (but always worth to search and check)

CLICK 👉 START YOUR SEARCH TODAY.

How do doctors diagnose sleep apnea?

There are a couple of different ways that your doctor can diagnose sleep apnea.

One way is to ask you a few questions about your sleep habits and then have you complete a sleep test. A sleep test or overnight sleep study, also known as polysomnography (PSG), is the most common type of sleep test used to diagnose sleep apnea.

It is a painless, noninvasive procedure that records how well you sleep and can diagnose all types of sleep apnea.

Another way to diagnose sleep apnea is with a home sleep test. A home sleep test is a portable sleep monitor that you use at home for one or up to three nights. This type of sleep test is used usually to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea.

Home sleep tests are not as accurate as sleep studies done in a sleep lab, so if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea from a home sleep test, you may still need to have a sleep study done in a sleep lab to confirm the diagnosis.

What are the surgical Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of surgery for sleep apnea that can be performed to help you sleep. The type of surgery that is best for you will depend on the type of sleep apnea that you have and its cause. It should be noted that surgery is usually only used for severe sleep apnea

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

UPPP is the most common surgery performed for sleep apnea. It is used to remove excess tissue at the back of your throat, including your uvula and parts of the soft tissues of your palate and tonsils. This sleep apnea surgery widens the airway, making it easier to sleep at night.

Adenoid or tonsil removal

These surgeries are also called adenotonsillectomy and tonsillectomy. They are sleep apnea surgeries that remove your tonsils and adenoids, which can cause sleep apnea if they become large enough to block the airway in your throat.

Laser or cautery-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP)

LAUP sleep apnea surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a laser or cautery to remove parts of your uvula and soft palate.

Palate implants

Palate implants are sleep apnea surgery that uses small, permanent implants to help keep your airway open. The implants are placed in the roof of your mouth and help to keep the tissues in that area from collapsing during sleep.

Nasal surgery

Nasal sleep apnea surgery includes a variety of procedures that are used to improve airflow through your nose by removing a nasal obstruction.

These sleep apnea surgical treatment options include septoplasty for a deviated septum, turbinate reduction or nasal conchae resection, and nasal polyp removal. All of these surgeries help clear your nasal passage. 

Tongue surgery

Tongue sleep apnea surgery is a procedure that is used to reduce the size of your tongue. The surgery may be done alone or in combination with other sleep apnea surgeries, such as UPPP or LAUP.

Nerve stimulation

This sleep apnea surgery involves implanting a device under the skin on your chest that sends electrical impulses to your muscles that control breathing. The impulses stimulate the nerve that controls your tongue and helps keep it from falling back into your throat during sleep.

Skeletal surgeries

These sleep apnea surgeries are procedures that are used to correct problems with your bones and joints. They include maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) and orthognathic surgery which both involve surgery to the jaw to help with sleep apnea.

Bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery is a type of surgery that reduces your weight. Bariatric sleep apnea surgeries include gastric bypass and lap band sleep apnea surgeries. Since obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by obesity, this is one option for quickly reducing your weight. It is recommended that you have regular exercise and a healthy diet to try to lose weight first and also to maintain your healthy weight after surgery.

Tracheotomy

This sleep apnea surgery is a procedure that is used to create an opening in your windpipe (trachea) so you can breathe without using your nose or mouth. A tracheotomy may be necessary if sleep apnea is severe and other treatments are not effective.

What are other Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea?

Other treatment options for sleep apnea include lifestyle changes, such as changing your diet to lose weight, positive airway pressure devices, oral appliances, and positional sleep therapy.

Lifestyle changes

These sleep apnea treatment options include weight loss if you are overweight or obese, avoiding alcohol and smoking before bedtime, and sleeping pills that cause sleepiness during the day.

Positive airway pressure devices

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are the most popular treatment option for sleep apnea and are devices that provide a constant stream of air through a mask to your nose and mouth while you sleep.

CPAP devices are not the only positive airway devices as there is also automatic positive airway pressure (APAP), bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), and adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) machines too.

These are similar to CPAP machines in that they use a mask and provide air through the nose and mouth to help keep your throat open during sleep. The pressure is not constant and adjusts to your breathing.

Oral appliances

These sleep apnea treatment options are devices that you wear in your mouth to help prevent sleep apnea symptoms while you sleep.

They can include a mandibular advancement device (MAD), which is worn like a retainer and moves the jaw forward to keep your airway open.

Another sleep apnea oral appliance is a tongue retaining device (TRD) that holds your tongue in place so it does not fall back into your throat during sleep.

Positional sleep therapy

This sleep apnea treatment option helps keep you from sleeping on your back as you are more likely to have sleep apnea in this position.

Doctors will ask you to sleep on your side or stomach to combat apneas while on your back. This can be accomplished in several ways including special pillows or even tennis balls in a sock tied around your waist.

Severe obstructive sleep apnea can be life threatening if left untreated. The best way to treat sleep apnea is by talking to your sleep doctor about what treatment options are right for you.

Summary

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing while you are sleeping and affects people of all ages.

The most common symptoms are loud snoring and gasping or choking for air while you sleep although there are numerous other symptoms too.

If you have sleep apnea, there are a number of treatment options available to you including several surgical procedures that can help. Surgical options are usually the last resort after several other treatment options are tried and there are quite a number of different surgeries available.

Which surgery is best for you is dependent on your cause for sleep apnea. If you have more questions please talk to your doctor or sleep specialist about your treatment options.

References and Sources:

American Sleep Apnea Association 

Medscape 

Stanford Health Care 

medically reviewed and fact checked
Sesame Care

Find the best price for great doctors and specialists

  • Thousands of doctors and specialists
  • $13,000,000+ saved by patients
  • 95% patient satisfaction
  • 4.3 on TrustPilot
     

Popular Destinations

Health

Membership

The Academy

About Us

Pharmacy Near Me

Recent Articles

an image of a woman wearing a sleep apnea mask

What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth and feeling like you’ve been running? If so, you may have signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing to stop or become very shallow for periods of time while sleeping. It affects millions of people each year, but it’s not always easy to diagnose because signs can vary from person to person. We’ll explain what signs are common for sleep apnea patients, how doctors diagnose the condition, and treatments available for those who suffer from it.

Read More »
Image of a man having difficulty sleeping due to insomnia

A Look at Insomnia Symptoms

In this article, we will discuss what insomnia is, the causes of insomnia, the symptoms of insomnia, and the treatment options for insomnia. We will also investigate the complications caused by insomnia and explore key factors for preventing this troublesome condition.

Read More »
image of a person sleep that is diagnosed with sleep apnea

Can You Die From Sleep Apnea?

You may know what sleep apnea is, but have you wondered if the condition could be life threatening? Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can increase your risk of sudden death if left untreated. If you have sleep apnea there will be pauses in breathing while you sleep which can lead to a number of health problems. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, risk factors, and treatments for sleep apnea. Keep reading if you or someone you love has sleep apnea and would like to research treatment options before talking to your doctor or medical professional.

Read More »

Share On:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth and feeling like you’ve been running? If so, you
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

A Look at Insomnia Symptoms

In this article, we will discuss what insomnia is, the causes of insomnia, the symptoms of insomnia, and the treatment options for insomnia. We
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Can You Die From Sleep Apnea?

You may know what sleep apnea is, but have you wondered if the condition could be life threatening? Sleep apnea is a serious sleep
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Is Sleep Apnea Genetic?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. It is caused by a blockage of the
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Sleep Apnea in Infants: What You Need to Know

Sleep apnea in infants is a sleep disorder that affects a baby’s breathing and anyone at any age can suffer from it. It causes
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

If you have been experiencing sleep problems, there is a chance that you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Insomnia, COVID-19, and other sleep disorders: What you need to know

In this article, we will discuss the symptoms and treatment options for insomnia as well as how COVID-19 can cause other sleep disorders.
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

5 Best Anti-Snoring Mouthguards for the Perfect Nights Sleep

If you’re new to the world of snoring mouthguards, then it may all seem a little daunting at first. And, while the anti-snore mouthpiece
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Zolpidem Tartrate: What is it and How Much Does it Cost?

Zolpidem tartrate is a sedative or hypnotic non-benzodiazepine GABA-A that is FDA approved for the treatment of insomnia. Zolpidem tartrate is a generic medication,
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Alternatives to CPAP Devices for Sleep Apnea Treatment

If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from sleep apnea, you may be wondering if there are any alternatives to
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Zolpidem: What is Zolpidem? Uses, Costs, Benefits, and Doses

In 1992, a blockbuster drug called Ambien was released, offering the first viable insomnia medication since the much-maligned (and frequently outlawed) Halcion. Since then,
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

What Causes Insomnia?

In this article, we will discuss the causes of insomnia, how to treat it, and some of the best ways to prevent it from
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

What are the Best Home Remedies to Treat Insomnia?

In this article, we will explore the different home remedies for insomnia while also detailing other treatment options if these home remedies have no
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Zolpidem Tartrate: What are the Side Effects?

Zolpidem tartrate is a sedative or hypnotic non-benzodiazepine GABA-A that is FDA approved for the treatment of insomnia. Zolpidem tartrate tablets are a popular
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Temazepam: Uses, Side Effects, Dosages, and More

Temazepam is a benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia in adults. Side effects of the drug include symptoms like tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, and headache, and
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Sleep Apnea in Children: What You Need to Know

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects many people, both adults and children. For children and adults, sleep apnea can cause problems such
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

What is Insomnia?

In this article, we will explain insomnia, its symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and what your treatment options are if you have it while
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Everything to Know About a Sleep Apnea Test at Home

Do you snore? Do you feel exhausted during the day, even after getting a good night’s sleep? You may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

What is a BiPAP Machine?

Sleep apnea can lead to many other conditions such as daytime drowsiness and high blood pressure so it is important to mitigate these factors
Chris Riley

Chris Riley

Does Sleep Apnea Affect Blood Pressure?

Do you snore at night? Do you feel excessively tired during the day? These symptoms could indicate that you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea
Chris Riley

Chris Riley