CPAP is the most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea. The CPAP is not a cure, rather a lifelong treatment designed to prevent the body from going extended periods of time without oxygen. There are surgical options that can alleviate all of the symptoms of sleep apnea all together. Most of the invasive surgery options carry very high risk of infection, discomfort, and require a hospital stay. The following list describes the current surgical options for treating sleep apnea:
- Maxillomandibular Advancement
This surgical procedure moves the upper and lower jaws forward and includes a tightening of the patient’s soft palate, tongue and other attached soft tissues. The process requires an overnight hospital stay and patients may have to have their jaw wired for several weeks.
- Anterior Inferior Mandibular Osteotomy with Hyoid Suspension
A chin bone osteotomy is a procedure designed to pull forward the tongue and anterior neck muscles, resulting in an expanded airway passage behind the tongue base. This is sometimes performed in addition to the jaw surgery.
- Surgery of the Soft Palate
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is a surgery where the soft palate is trimmed. Its counterpart, Somnoplasty, uses radiofrequency to shrink the soft palate. Both of these surgeries have the potential for adverse side effects.
During a tracheostomy surgeons create an opening in the windpipe to bypass the obstruction in the airway.Most medical associations claims that this procedure is an effective treatment to alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea. However, they also confirm that the potential for psychosocial problems increases as a result of this surgery.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America (SATCOA) is trying to change the way people view sleep apnea and surgery. One of the less commonly known CPAP alternatives is called an RFA treatment. RFA stands for radio-frequency ablation and is similar to a Somnoplasty. Unlike Somnoplasty, the RFA treatment is targeted to the tongue base.
Those familiar with the radio-frequency tongue abation, procedure know that it has been performed mostly in a hospital setting for the past 10 years. SATCOA has developed new protocols for the RFA treatment that allows the procedure to take place in a comfortable office setting. Both physicians and patients welcome the convenience of this procedure lasting only 2-5 minutes, performed once a month, for the course of 6 months on average. This procedure greatly reduces the risks associated with the other major surgeries mentioned above. 72% of patients who undergo the SATCOA radio-frequency tongue ablation procedure successfully eliminate the use of their CPAP. This is the only in-office procedure available to cure sleep apnea.
The instrument is placed onto the muscle at the back of the tongue to deliver treatment.
Healing causes shrinkage and tightening of the tongue tissues, therefore more space for breathing is created.