The goal of most surgeries for breathing problems is to widen the airway. This is done by taking out or shrinking excess tissue where the mouth meets the throat. Nasal and jaw surgery can help correct nose or jaw problems that contribute to snoring and apnea. This sheet describes procedures that may be recommended for you.
This is the most common surgical procedure for sleep apnea. It trims the soft palate and uvula, and removes the tonsils and other tissue. It is major surgery done in a hospital. Most people go home within 24 hours.
Complications are uncommon with this procedure, but can include:
False feeling that something is in throat
Liquids sometimes going into nose when swallowing
This procedure helps relieve snoring. It may also be used in some cases of mild apnea. The doctor uses a laser or electric current to remove some of the soft palate and part or all of the uvula. This treatment may be done over several sessions in the doctor’s office.
The risks and complications are the same as for UPPP, but even less likely to occur.
This procedure helps relieve snoring. The doctor uses radio waves to reduce the size of the turbinates or uvula, nearby tissue, and sometimes the back of the tongue.
Swelling in airway
Pocket of pus (abscess) on tongue
Problems in the nose can make snoring or sleep apnea worse. They can also make CPAP (a common treatment for snoring and sleep apnea) harder to use. If blockages in your nose are severe, surgery can improve the airflow. It can reduce the size of the turbinates, straighten a deviated septum, and remove any polyps (overgrowths of sinus lining).
Damage to or perforation of septum
Dryness in nose
If your jaw sits too far back, your tongue may also be too far back. That makes the tongue more likely to block the airway when you sleep. Moving the jaw forward moves the tongue forward and widens the airway overall.
In some cases, the jaw does not heal in the desired position. Your doctor can tell you more about this. Other possible complications include:
Loss of teeth or need for orthodontic treatment to realign teeth.
Loss of feeling in jaw or teeth.
Change in facial appearance.
If your apnea is severe and no other treatment helps, other kinds of surgery may help. Your doctor can tell you about them. Be sure you understand their risks as well as their benefits.
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