Because sleep apnea occurs while you are sleeping, it often goes undiagnosed. The condition, which deprives you of adequate rest, can lead to serious health issues, like heart disease and stroke. Snoring, or obstructed breathing, which is caused by structural issues in the mouth and throat (including excessive throat tissue or a long soft palate) is one of a number of symptoms that can indicate sleep apnea.
Through a sleep study, experienced physicians can diagnose the cause of your sleep-related issues and develop a treatment plan.
Common diagnoses requiring treatment include:
McGovern Medical School at UTHealth-affiliated physicians at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center offer both surgical and nonsurgical options for the treatment of sleep disorders.
Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) is a surgical procedure that moves the upper jaw (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible) forward to enlarge the airway. Performed under general anesthesia, the procedure has a high success rate when used in patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). MMA has the highest proven effectiveness of any surgical procedure for severe OSA.
Turbinate reduction is usually a minimally-invasive procedure in which a small incision is made in the lining of the turbinate (the breathing passage of the nose) and a piece of bone is removed. The mass of tissue surrounding the bone can also be reduced.
Uvulopalatalpharyngoplasty is a surgery to remove tissue in the throat area, and can involve the removal of the uvula, tonsils, adenoids and soft palate to open the airway and improve breathing. The procedure can also include the removal part of the tongue.
The goal of a septoplasty is to even out the partition between the two nasal cavities, usually accomplished by realigning bone and cartilage. During this procedure, the surgeon will work through the nostrils to make an incision in the lining of the septum to reach the are targeted in the operation.
The affiliated physicians at Memorial Hermann have extensive experience in the treatment of sleep apnea. They do a complete evaluation of each patient and recommend the surgical or nonsurgical treatment that best fits that patient's needs.
Oral appliance therapy is a nonsurgical treatment option to CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). It is offered as an alternative for patients who, through a sleep study, have been diagnosed with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and and who did not respond well to CPAP treatment.
The oral appliance device used in oral appliance therapy may not be as effective as CPAP, but it does offer an option to help improve sleep quality. The device is held in place by your teeth, positioning your lower jaw and tongue in a forward position. This enlarges the space in the back of your throat and thus reduces tissue obstruction.
There are different types of oral appliances available, but the most widely used and researched is the Mandibular Repositioning Appliance, or MRA – also called a Mandibular Advancing Device (MAD).
If you do choose to try an oral appliance, it’s important that the device is certified as effective by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Certified oral appliances are also approved by the American college of Chest Physicians and American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
If you or a loved one are showing signs of a sleep disorder, there are many effective surgical and nonsurgical treatment options available.
To find out more about sleep disorders, to make an appointment with a sleep specialist, or to find out more about scheduling a sleep study, call (713) 222-CARE or fill out the form below.