Could Oral Surgery Help Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when oral structures, such as the soft palate, tonsils, and tongue, relax too much and obstruct your normal breathing rhythm. OSA can greatly impact your day-to-day activities as it may cause you to have issues like chronic headaches and daytime fatigue. The Mayo Clinic says that this condition can also lead to complications, such as diabetes, heart issues, liver problems, and high blood pressure. If you are looking for ways to treat your OSA, you may want to talk to your doctor about oral surgery.

When is Oral Surgery Recommended for OSA?

Before oral surgery, doctors will typically recommend conservative treatments first. For example, if your sleep apnea is mainly caused by excess weight, your doctor might recommend a diet and exercise regimen. Your doctor may also prescribe oral appliances or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. However, some people may not be able to get used to these devices, or these devices may not be effective at improving their symptoms. If conservative treatments aren't working, then you may want to look into oral surgery.

What Types of Oral Surgeries Could Help?

Maxillofacial surgery is an effective way to control OSA and can be just as effective as a CPAP. Different oral surgeries can be used depending on doctor preferences and your health needs. Before surgery, your doctor may conduct a polysomnography and imaging tests to understand the root of your OSA. Oral surgeries that could potentially help include hyoid suspensions, tongue radiofrequency surgery, and maxillomandibular advancement (MMA).

Hyoid Suspension Surgery

The hyoid bone is a u-shaped bone that sits in the neck and supports the tongue. During a hyoid suspension surgery, your doctor will anchor the hyoid bone to cartilage in the throat. Once this bone is anchored, the airway will be expanded, and a patient will be less likely to suffer from OSA symptoms.

Tongue Radiofrequency Surgery

During a tongue radiofrequency surgery, your doctor will use a special instrument that can apply heat to oral tissue. Your doctor will heat up a certain amount of tongue tissue to encourage scar tissue to form. This scar tissue will shrink the tongue slightly so that it's less likely to fall backward and cause airway blockages during the night.

Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA)

MMA is a much more invasive surgery than the previously mentioned procedures, so it's usually reserved for more severe cases and for people with OSA-related skeletal issues. During MMA, your doctor will cut through the upper and lower jaw bones and advance them forward to relieve OSA. During recovery, your jaws may need to be wired shut and you may be limited to a liquid diet after surgery.

Reach out to your doctor today for more information on oral surgeries to correct your OSA.