A Brief Look at Nasal Surgery and Upper Airway Surgery For Sleep Apnea


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Surgery may be an option for some people who have sleep apnea. Depending on a person’s nasal and upper airway anatomy they may be candidates for certain types of surgery which can help to widen airways or remove certain obstructive tissues. While any type of surgery comes with a certain amount of risk, it may be the best option for someone with sleep apnea.

One common type of nasal surgery that can be done to eliminate sleep apnea is septoplasty. Septoplasty is basically a surgery which corrects any problems with the septum. The septum is the cartilage which separates the nasal passages in the nose into two different sides. When the septum is deviated in some way it can contribute to sleep apnea.

A turbinate reduction may also be an option for some sleep apnea sufferers. A turbinate is made up of bone surrounded by soft tissue. There are three located in each nostril and they serve to warm and moisturize air. A large turbinate may cause obstruction problems in the airways. In this cause surgery would potentially be a good option.

Some people experience small growths in their nose called polyps. Polyps can obstruct the airway and may need to be removed via a surgery called endoscopic sinus surgery. Recurring sinus infections may also facilitate the need for this type of surgery.

Sometimes the problem lies in the upper airway which includes the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and adenoids. A surgery known as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) may be needed to correct the problem. The surgery involves the removal of the tonsils, the bottom of the soft palate is trimmed, and the uvula is removed.

Alternately, laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) is another option. In LAUP the back edge of the soft palate is removed, the uvula is reduced in size, and the tonsils may be removed. LUAP typically requires several treatments before snoring is affected.

As with any surgery there is a certain amount of risk associated with it as well as a potentially long recovery period. Discuss your options with your doctor before you become certain that a particular surgery option is right for you.

Rudy Watkins writes about sleep apnea treatments such as CPAP and sleep apnea surgery for the Apnea Guide website. Read more and sign up for our free newsletter at http://www.apneaguide.com


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