Snoring / Sleep Disorders
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that involves breathing problems during sleep, as the throat muscles relax and block the airway. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea often experience loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, insomnia and waking up with a sore throat. This condition can affect anyone, but is most common in older adults. We usually order a sleep study in order to differentiate snorers who have a level of obstructive sleep apnea. Patients with sleep apnea require a trial with CPAP masks or other surgeries.
During normal breathing, air passes through the throat on its way to the lungs. The air travels past the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and tongue. When a person is awake, the muscles in the back of the throat tighten to hold these structures in place, preventing them from collapsing into the airway. During sleep, these structures can fall into the airway, causing snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty with or without tonsillectomy are surgical procedures designed to circumvent this sleep related collapse of these structures.
Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct defects or deformities of the septum. The nasal septum is the separation between the two nostrils. In adults, it is composed of both cartilage and bone. The nasal septum has three functions: support the nose, regulate air flow, and support the mucous membranes of the nose. A number of medical conditions may indicate a need for the procedure including nasal air passage obstruction, a deviated septum, tumors, chronic and uncontrolled nosebleeds, or the presence of polyps, etc. Additionally, a septoplasty may be performed in conjunction with a rhinoplasty in order to ensure that the reshaping of the nose does not result in a reduction of the amount of breathing space.
Patients who receive septoplasty can usually return home the same day or the morning after surgery. Risks or complications are relatively rare. During recovery, patients may experience bleeding, swelling, bruising, or discoloration.
Turbinate reduction surgery is a procedure that shrinks the turbinates in order to alleviate chronic nasal congestion and nasal obstruction. The turbinates are small curved bones that extend horizontally along the wall of the nasal passage. Their purpose is to humidify and filter the air that is inhaled through the nose. The inferior turbinate fills the lower portion of the nasal airway and can become very swollen in response to allergies or infections. When a patient's turbinate is abnormally large and does not respond to traditional therapies such as antihistamines or antibiotics, surgical intervention may be recommended.
During surgery, the turbinate is shrunk by the placement of a surgical probe. Using radiofrequency, the submucosal tissue is vaporized while the muscosal layer is preserved to allow for continued nasal humidification. The procedure is relatively low-risk although it may result in some dryness within the nose. Occasionally the turbinate tissue will re-grow and the surgery may need to be repeated. Mild discomfort lasts for about 1-2 days. This procedure may be able to be done in the office.
LAUP is a minimally invasive surgical treatment for snoring that removes tissue in the uvula and soft palate. The tissue is removed by releasing low levels of laser energy to reshape the lining of the soft tissue and eventually shrink its volume. This procedure helps to open up the passageway for air and reduce snoring.
It is performed under local anesthesia and is mostly painless despite a laser generating heat in the throat area. Some swelling and discomfort usually occurs following the procedure.
This procedure helps to treat snoring and feelings of daytime sleepiness. Talk to your doctor to find out if it can work for you.
To learn more about our Ear, Nose & Throat and Head & Neck Surgery Services, please contact us today to schedule an appointment!