Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is very important to your overall health. There are many options for patients to consider, and it is important that patients consult their physician to find the treatment method that is best for them.

Non-Surgical Treatment

OSA is often treated by non-surgical methods. The standard non-surgical treatment is called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Through a mask, the CPAP device pushes air into the breathing passage which temporarily prevents the collapse of the airway. While effective, CPAP is not a cure, but a support measure. When CPAP is not used nocturnal obstruction to breathing will occur again. Other non-surgical therapies for treating OSA include:

  • Weight loss for obese patients
  • Avoidance of alcohol and sedatives
  • The use of jaw advancement and tongue retaining devices
  • Avoidance of sleeping on the back

While these treatments will not cure a patient of OSA, they may still be effective in relieving some of the symptoms.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery can successfully treat OSA, eliminating the need for CPAP usage. The basic surgical strategy is to open the sites of obstruction to breathing typically at the nose, palate or tongue base. Some of the procedures are well known such as removal of the tonsils, trimming of the soft palate or straightening the crooked septum. Other, lesser known techniques enlarge the breathing passage behind the tongue. This may entail operation directly on the tongue tendons or indirectly on the jaw.

The type of OSA surgery that you are offered is designed specifically for your particular problem since the blockage to breathing does not always occur in the same location. Various combinations of procedures are sometimes required in order to open the multiple areas of blockage. Snoring can also be eliminated allowing restful sleep for spouses and other family members. A brief overview of each of the current surgical options for treatment of OSA can be found by clicking the links below.