Get Sleep Apnea Treatment and Stop Snoring in Staten Island, New York
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic condition in which an individual has one or more pauses in breathing as he/she sleeps. These pauses can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, and often occur from five to thirty times or more per hour. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because many people are unaware that they have it. There are no tests during routine office visits to determine if they have this condition.
When we sleep, the soft palate in the back of the throat relaxes. For some people, it relaxes too much, causing a narrowing of their airway. When air is drawn over the soft palate through this narrowed airway, it causes vibrations in the tissue. These vibrations are responsible for the snoring sound.
In some cases, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat, blocking the upper airway and stopping airflow altogether. This is called obstructive sleep apnea. When oxygen levels in the brain become low enough, the sleeper partially awakens - usually with a loud gasp - clearing the obstruction in the throat and restarting the air flow.
Individuals with sleep apnea usually suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and an inability to concentrate. In addition to these common effects of sleep deprivation, repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation to the brain can lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.
During your consultation at Staten Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, our oral and maxillofacial surgeons David Hoffman, D.D.S. and Mark Stein, D.D.S., M.D. will ask about your medical history and assess the anatomic relationships in your maxillofacial region. Skull X-rays and CT Scans with computer reformatting will also be helpful in understanding the level of the obstruction. In some cases, sleep studies are recommended to monitor the patient overnight in order to confirm cardiovascular compromise. Our office works closely with the sleep center at Staten Island University Hospital.
There are several treatment options available to help treat your sleep apnea. The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is generally the first course of action in managing sleep apnea. CPAP machines deliver pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. With this machine, the air pressure is somewhat greater than the surrounding air and is just enough to keep your upper airway passages open. Some patients find CPAP machines uncomfortable or cumbersome, but with practice most patients are able to adjust to the tension of the straps.
If CPAP is not a viable option for you, there are several surgical options that may work. An uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasty (UPPP) is a surgical procedure performed in the back of the soft palate and throat. During the procedure, tissue is removed from the rear of your mouth and top of your throat to stop throat structures from vibrating and causing snoring. A similar procedure is sometimes done with the assistance of a laser, called a laser-assisted UPPP. This surgery is usually performed under light I.V. sedation in our office.
More complex cases of OSA may require orthognathic surgery to reposition the upper and lower jaw to increase the size of the airway. This procedure requires general anesthesia and requires a hospital stay. This procedure is becoming more common, often approved by insurance companies, and is considered one of the best cures for sleep apnea.
Your specific recovery will depend on many factors, including your age and overall health. Most patients will experience some swelling and mild discomfort after surgery, and you will be limited to a soft diet until the discomfort passes and the surgery heals. If necessary, David Hoffman, D.D.S. or Mark Stein, D.D.S., M.D. may prescribe antibiotics or pain medications.
If you are interested in learning more about sleep apnea and snoring treatment options, please contact Staten Island Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to schedule an appointment with oral and maxillofacial surgeons David Hoffman, D.D.S. or Mark Stein, D.D.S., M.D. at 718.226.1251.
256-C Mason Ave, 3rd Floor
Staten Island, New York 10305