Do you suffer episodes of obstructed breathing when sleeping? Do you even know if you do? Does your partner make mention of how it seems you are having difficulty sleeping well? If you answered yes to any of these scenarios, perhaps you have Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition causes frequent stoppages in breathing while the patient tries to sleep. It is a global health problem known to have a significant impact on people’s overall health and quality of life. OSA frequently occurs in people with neurologic complications. Unfortunately, according to recent studies, most people with this condition do not know they have it. Even those who know have it don’t know how to treat it. This article aims to educate you on the various treatment options you can consider for the management of OSA.
Positive Airway Pressure Therapy
This type of therapy improves sleep-related complications and the patient’s overall quality of life. PAP consists of a small air pump that unblocks the patient’s upper airway by providing constant positive air pressure through a mask system. This treatment method is highly effective in reducing the apnea-hypopnea index, representing the combined cases of apnea and hypopnea occurring per hour when a patient is sleeping (how often you stop breathing). However, some patients complain that masks are uncomfortable and add excessive air pressure to their sinuses.
Because Adenotonsillar hypertrophy is known to be one of the common causes of obstructive sleep apnea, adenotonsillectomy has become the primary first-line treatment in children. In adults, this treatment is usually combined with other remedies to yield better results. For adults, hypertrophy rarely causes obstructive sleep apnea, and therefore, any isolated adenotonsillectomy won’t produce much improvement.
If your OSA is a result of the enlargement of your turbinate or deviation of the septum, then the best treatment for you would be nasal surgery. Your doctor will apply various surgical techniques depending on the severity of your condition. Such techniques include septoplasty, turbinate cautery, and elimination of concha bullosa. This procedure helps to create enough space in your airway to reduce the obstruction.
The maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) procedure helps to enlarge the velo-orohypopharyngeal airway by advancing the frontal pharyngeal tissues that are attached to the jawbone. The procedure often works for people with serious maxillomandibular deficiency. Through this surgery, the two jaws are advanced by 10-12mm. This advancement may cause excessive maxillomandibular outcrop.
This treatment method involves the stimulation of the hypoglossal nerve using a pacemaker-like device attached to a wire connecting a small fetter to the nerve. When switched on, this device will stimulate your hypoglossal nerve while causing your tongue to protrude. This helps to open your pharyngeal airway and maintain patency.