People who are diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) undergo disrupted sleep as well as low levels of oxygen. The tongue gets sucked against the back of the throat during the occurrence of OSA. This results in the blockage of the upper airway which makes the airflow stop. Eventually, when the brain is unable to receive enough oxygen and the levels go down, the person is partially awakened from sleep, and a gasp (usually loud) jumpstarts the flow of air and clears the obstruction of the throat.
This cycle of decreased oxygen levels if repeated again and again can lead to serious cardiovascular issues. In addition to this, people can also have excessive sleepiness (daytime), concentration loss and even depression.
There are also people who have less sever obstructions. This is called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). Be that as it may, people in both cases show the same symptoms.
The very first step towards the treatment in such cases is the recognition of these symptoms and seeking the suitable consultation. Our oral & maxillofacial experts will be able to help you with it.
In addition to your detailed medical history, our experts will also assess the different anatomic relationships in your maxillofacial area. Our doctors make use of cephalometic analysis (or skull x-ray) to know the level of obstruction there is. Naso-pharyngeal exam is also carried out, in some situations, using a fiber-optic flexible camera. A person may also be recommended with a sleep study with overnight monitoring. This is to ascertain the decreased levels of oxygen and the cardio-vascular compromise.
As for the treatment, there are several options available. At the initial stage, treatment involves the delivering of pressurized oxygen with the help of a nasal mask using a nasal CPAP machine. This is done to limit the obstruction of oxygen. The most common surgical treatment is UPPP (Uvulo Palato Pharyngo-Plasty), performed at the back of the palate as well as the throat. A procedure, similar to this, is also carried out sometimes, which makes use of laser. It is called Laser-Assisted Uvulo Palato Plasty (LAUPP). Other situations require a probe of radio-frequency to make the palate tightened. We perform all these surgeries in our own dedicated rooms where the patient is put under IV sedation (light) to avoid the discomfort.
Even complex cases may lead to the repositioning of the bones of upper as well as the lower jaws so as to enlarge the airway (Orthognathic surgery). This procedure is carried out under general anesthesia at a hospital and requires 1 or 2 overnight stays.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a quite serious condition which requires attention and treatment. A proof of its serious is found in the fact that most medical claims offer coverage of its treatment and diagnosis.