Snoring Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Treatment Animation
Snoring and sleep apnea.In normal breathing, air enters the nostrils and goes through the throat and the tracheato the lungs. In people who snore this airway is partiallyobstructed by excess tissue of the throat, such as large tonsils, large soft palate ortongue. Another common cause of obstruction is the dropping of the tongue into the throatdue to over relaxation of tongue muscles during sleep. Air currents competing throughnarrow spaces in the throat cause the soft palate essentially a piece of soft tissuehanging in the throat to vibrate. This vibration is the source of the noise we hear when someoneis snoring.
Sleep apnea happens when the airway is completelyobstructed, no air can go through and the person stops breathing. This cessation ofbreathing triggers the brain to respond by waking up the person just enough to take abreath. This repeats itself again and again during the course of the night and may resultin sleep deprivation. Snoring and mild sleep apnea may be treatedwith a mandibular advancement device. This device is designed to move the lower jaw andthe tongue slightly forward and thus making the space in the back of the throat larger.
Is surgery the only option for treating sleep apnea or snoring
I do predominantly the line share of sleep apnea surgery in our department. I collaborate closely with the pulmonologists, who are the sleep medicine s. Those are the s that help diagnose and treat sleep apnea, as well. If those patients fail their, their medical or their conservative therapy, that's typically when they get sent to see me for surgical considerations to, to look at potential cures for their apnea. It's not uncommon for me to see a lot of patients for, who come in for snoring complaints and, you know, are wondering whether or not they have sleep apnea. So sleep apnea is condition where you actually stop breathing at night.
Snoring is somewhere on that spectrum, towards the more mild, you know, milder end of that spectrum. But, you know, really the only way to determine if you have sleep apnea, the gold standard of testing, is really getting a sleep study. And that's an overnight, monitored study where patients, you know, sleep in a room that's similar to a hotel room but they're being monitored and they're hooked up, you know, for sound so to speak with different monitors and cables on them. And that's really our best test to diagnose sleep apnea. The treatment for sleep apnea is typically a nonsurgical therapy; something called CPAP,
which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. And it's the patients that don't tolerate their CPAP who end up seeing me for surgical considerations. And there's a number of reasons why patients may not tolerate their CPAP. But there are some surgeries that can be helpful in patients who are not tolerant of their medical therapy. And I offer a variety of surgeries including nasal surgery, a variety of palatal surgeries for the kind of tonsil and soft pallet region and then also a variety of tonguebased procedures, as well. But we typically see a patient back after their procedure in about three weeks to recheck everything, make sure that they're healing okay.
After that, I normally recheck a sleep study in about three months after their surgery, just to give everything a chance to heal and to scar. And we, you know, make further recommendations based on the result of their followup sleep study after their surgery. We're exploring the, a new technology now which is actually a nerve stimulator for sleep apnea. It's an implantable device, very similar to a pacemaker that goes into the patient's chest. And there's an electrode that will actually stimulate the nerve that goes to the tongue to provide the tongue with a little bit of more tone when they're sleeping at night, and thereby eliminating their sleep apnea.