Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sleep Apnea Treatments

There are many sleep apnea treatments and procedures; here are just a few of the main ones.

  • The easy way to help with your sleep apnea is to lose weight. It probably won’t completely end your sleep apnea but it should help, although if you have central sleep apnea this wouldn’t help.
  • The chin strap is simple device that fits around the top of the head and around your chin. The idea behind it is to keep your mouth shut. Some people use it with the cpap machine others just by itself.
  • Dental devices fit in your mouth at night in order to keep the airway open. This is usually only effective with mild sleep apnea.
  • Somnoplasty is a procedure that uses a radio frequency directed at the soft palate and the uvula. This in effect stiffens the soft palate eliminating the snoring. This is an outpatient procedure.
  • Another outpatient surgery is the laser assisted uvula palatoplasty or LAUP. This procedure vaporizes the soft palate and the uvula. Done on an outpatient basis it takes more than one visit to the doctor.
  • One of the most difficult sleep apnea surgeries to recover from is the Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or UPPP surgery. This surgery removes the tissue from the back of the throat. It requires a hospital stay and your throat will be very sore for weeks after the surgery.
  • And of course there is the cpap machine, by far the most popular device to help with sleep apnea. It takes time to get use to sleeping with a mask on your face.
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  1. Another treatement is the help of so-called "sleep dentists". It's a quite new technique, but it works.

  2. UPPP alone has only a 40% success rate. If you add tongue base procedures to the soft palate (multilevel surgery, which can sometimes include the nose as well), the success rate goes up to about 80%, and a maxilo-mandibular advancement (MMA) has about a 90-95% success rate. This is a big (and controversial) area of discussion, with many myths and misunderstandings amongst patients and physicians.