There are several effective treatment options for helping you sleep at night, including - a CPAP device, mouthpieces, hypoglossal nerve stimulation, or special pillows. In cases of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea in which you have not responded well to any of these treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery. The type of surgery will depend on the part of the body causing the issue - nose, tongue, palate (the soft tissue in the back of your mouth and throat), or the bones in your face, neck, or jaw.
- Nasal surgery: The most common type of nasal surgery is the correction of a deviated septum (when the cartilage separating your nostrils is off-center). This is usually meant to improve the use of CPAP and is not likely to get rid of the apnea entirely.
- Tongue surgery: The two most common tongue surgeries are a lingual tonsillectomy, in which doctors remove part of the base of the tongue, or a genioglossus advancement, which firms up the tongue by pulling the muscle that attaches to your lower jaw forward.
- Patate surgeries include: Tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils), uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (also known as UPPP or UP3, this is the rearranging of throat tissue to make a bigger airway), palate radiofrequency (the doctor will zap the soft tissue that makes up your palate. As you heal the tissues will stiffen and shrink), and palate implants (small fiber rods are used to stiffen the tissue and keep the airway open.
- Skeletal surgery: This type of surgery aims to change the shape of your airway by moving your jawbones. The most effective (but also most invasive) type of skeletal surgery is called maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) in which the surgeon breaks your upper and lower jaws and moves them forward to make a bigger airway. This generally requires a few days in the hospital. Afterward, your jaw will be held together by tight rubberbands which your doctor will remove at each of your follow-up visits over the following weeks. Another option is called anterior inferior mandibular osteotomy with hyoid suspension. In this type of surgery part of the bone in your chin is removed and your tongue and neck muscles are pulled forward to make more space in your airway. This is less effective than MMA, but you won't need to have your jaws held together during your recovery.