What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
OSA is a condition characterized by obstructed airflow during sleep resulting in low oxygen levels. This decrease in oxygen levels causes the patient to awaken. Multiple episodes of this can cause severely fragmented sleep patterns resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness, inability to concentrate, and depression. OSA has also been strongly linked to medical conditions such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
What are the treatment options available?
There are a number of treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask. This system holds the airway open while you sleep to avoid the obstruction. In mild cases, a oral splint may be worn to position your lower jaw forward while you sleep to help open your airway.
Other options include soft tissue surgery to remove excess tissue. A common surgery of this type is Uvulo-palatal-pharyngo-plasty (UPPP) which is performed on the tissues at the back of the palate and throat.
In more severe cases of OSA, jaw surgery to advance the upper and lower jaws (orthographic surgery) may be necessary to adequately open the airway. This procedure is done in the hospital under general anesthesia and requires a one to two day overnight stay in the hospital.