Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Many myths surround sleep apnea, one being that snoring and sleep apnea are the same condition. While snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), most people who snore do not have sleep apnea. Sufferers of sleep apnea may experience recurrent sleep disruptions that include waking up gasping and coughing, morning headaches and excessive sleepiness during the day. Left untreated, sleep apnea increases your risk for other serious medical conditions. If we suspect you are suffering from sleep apnea, we will refer you to a sleep clinic for tests.
At Alaska Center for Ear, Nose, and Throat (ACENT) in Anchorage, an ENT specialist can help treat your sleep apnea. Request a consultation online, or call our office at (907) 279-8800 to make an appointment to speak to a member of our team. For our Homer and surrounding patients, please call (907) 235-0310.
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Septoplasty – A deviated, or crooked, septum can obstruct the airway and make breathing difficult. Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that straightens the septum. By opening the airway, it can help alleviate snoring.
Turbinate reduction surgery – The turbinate is a bony structure inside the nose that helps humidify the air you breathe. Sometimes, however, it becomes enlarged and causes nasal congestion. Surgery may be necessary for patients diagnosed with sleep apnea and who are having difficulty breathing.
Adenoidectomy – Adenoids, like tonsils, are lymphoid tissue. They are located behind the nose and only visible using an endoscope. Enlarged adenoids obstructing breathing could disrupt sleep. An adenoidectomy is performed with a general anesthetic but usually takes only about 10 minutes.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – This is an effective treatment for people with moderate to severe sleep apnea. It is a long-term treatment which involves wearing a specially fitted mask when you go to sleep each night. The mask is hooked to a small machine which pumps a continuous stream of air at a pressure deemed effective by your physician. Although CPAP is prescribed by a sleep center's medical director, some patients benefit from the surgical procedures described above, which can open the nasal airway and make it easier to use CPAP.
Uvulopalatalpharyngoplasty (UPPP) – This surgical procedure is an alternative for some patients who are uncomfortable wearing the CPAP mask. During surgery, soft tissue on the back of the throat is removed. Such tissue includes all or part of the uvula (the soft flap of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth) and parts of the soft palate and throat tissue.