When a patient has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it means that sleep is disrupted because the upper airway is blocked while sleeping. As a result, oxygen levels can drop, which can have a negative effect on many aspects of overall health. For example, repeated cycles of low oxygen levels can increase the risk of serious cardiovascular problems. Naperville patients often experience symptoms such as depression, daytime sleepiness, and loss of concentration.

The most common reason the airway is blocked is because the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat, which blocks the airway and stops airflow completely. When the brain registers the decrease in oxygen levels, the patient awakens partially to clear the obstruction. Often, a loud gasp is heard when this occurs.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

The first step in treating sleep apnea is to recognize the symptoms and seek appropriate medical care. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are a great resource for consultations and to discuss treatment options.

Skull x-rays can be used to determine the level of obstruction and look at the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. A sleep study might be recommended to determine the impact sleep apnea is having on the cardiovascular system and oxygenation levels.

Potential treatments for obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • CPAP Machine: This nasal mask delivers pressurized oxygen to limit obstruction while sleeping.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): A surgical procedure that is performed on the throat and the back of the soft palate.
  • Laser Assisted Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (LAUPP): A similar procedure as above, but with the assistance of laser technology.
  • Radiofrequency Probe: This technology can be used to tighten the soft palate.

The surgical procedures are completed using light IV sedation to ensure the patient’s comfort during the procedure.

When a sleep apnea case is complex, it might be necessary to reposition the bones of the upper and lower jaw. This surgery increases the size of the airway to eliminate blockages while sleeping. General anesthesia is used, and hospitalization is required for 1–2 days after the surgery.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition that can result in life-threatening consequences if left untreated. Most major medical plans provide insurance coverage for both the diagnosis and treatment of OSA.

For personal treatment recommendations, contact our office in Naperville to schedule a consultation with Drs. Blecha and Jandali. Call us at (630) 961-5151.