What is it?
During sleep, airflow through the back of the nose and/or mouth can be obstructed and lead to vibration of the soft tissues of the throat and even complete cessation of breathing (apnea). Snoring is the sound generated from this vibration, but further obstruction causing apnea can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, based on severity measured with a sleep study. Sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, neurocognitive problems, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, respiratory failure, and heart failure.
How is it treated?
Obstructive sleep apnea is often initially treated with efforts at losing weight and using positive airway pressure masks, but there are a number of other options. Treatments are chosen based on severity of disease and specific anatomic problems identified. For moderate and severe sleep apnea, a sleep endoscopy (see the section on “Evaluation Techniques” under “What We Do”) can help to identify the correct surgery. Ultimately, surgical options include minimally-invasive procedures to improve nasal breathing, palatal surgical procedures to improve breathing in the upper throat, and other procedures to improve breathing in the lower throat. An exciting newer development is an implant system, the Inspire device, that gently moves the tongue during sleep to reduce obstruction.
Dr. Parker is one of the few surgeons in Indiana focusing on and offering the spectrum of sleep surgical options for patients, including upper airway stimulation.
SleepIndy.com has more info on snoring and sleep apnea!
Below are videos on Inspire and another procedure performed called the Airlift system, which are examples among a number of surgical procedures available that can be tailored to patient-specific anatomy needs.