Woman tired from sleep apnea

A good night’s rest is more than just “beauty sleep.” It is your chance to recover from a long day and give your body and mind time to recuperate. Without it, you may find yourself sluggish and irritable. Going without consistent sleep for too long could also have severe consequences for your overall health, potentially leading to heart, lung, neurological, and kidney disease.

For those struggling with CPAP machines for obstructive sleep apnea, sleep surgery may be an option for you to get back to sleeping well.

In This Article...

  1. What is sleep surgery?
  2. What are different types of sleep surgery?
  3. Who are good candidates for sleep surgery?

What is sleep surgery?

Sleep surgery is a specialized area of procedures intended to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea can result from differences in the nose, sinuses, palate, and tongue, as well as body weight. Environmental and habitual factors like allergies, diet, and alcohol or tobacco use can exacerbate issues. Sleep surgery can also improve a patient’s tolerance of their CPAP machine.

What are different types of sleep surgery?

An otolaryngologist with a specialty in sleep surgery can help guide you towards the corrective procedure you may need. These include:

Nasal surgery

One cause of both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is a blockage in the nasal passages. A sleep specialist can perform endoscopic nasal surgery to examine the interior of your nose and remove these blockages to create better airflow. Another potential nasal surgery is septoplasty, used to treat a deviated septum that is also impeding your ability to breathe effectively at night.

Oropharyngeal surgery

Your tongue and soft palate can also make breathing at night more difficult and interrupt your sleep. ENT physicians who specialize in sleep surgery can perform tongue reduction surgery to reduce its size or surgeries to support the tongue to make it less likely to collapse while sleeping. They may also recommend an expansion sphincter palatopharyngoplasty to lift and support portions of the palate and further open up the airway in your throat.

Inspire Sleep Apnea Treatment

Your physicians may also suggest a revolutionary surgical method for treating sleep apnea: Inspire hypoglossal nerve stimulation. This outpatient procedure involves implanting a small device under your collarbone that provides gentle pulses to stabilize the tongue muscles during sleep. Once the patient is ready to sleep, they press on their remote to activate the implant and alleviate obstructive sleep apnea.

Dr. Kevin Coughlin, a CEENTA otolaryngologist and sleep surgeon who practices out of our Steele Creek office, offers this treatment method for potential candidates. “The Inspire hypoglossal nerve stimulation implant is a remarkable advancement in treating sleep apnea in those unable to utilize their CPAP,” Dr. Coughlin explained. “This outpatient surgery takes 90 minutes, with minimal post-operative pain and recovery.” Regarding the benefits of this treatment, Dr. Coughlin says, “I love when a patient’s bed partner comes in exclaiming how their relationship has been saved!”

Who are good candidates for sleep surgery?

Ideal candidates for sleep surgery may have the following qualities:

  • At least eighteen years of age
  • Obstructive sleep apnea who are unsuccessful in using CPAP
  • Consulted with primary care physicians and sleep specialists
  • Body mass index (BMI) less than 40
  • Prior sleep study

That said, children with loud snoring or concern for obstructive sleep apnea can also be candidates for corrective surgery such as removing the tonsils and adenoids. These interventions are considered first line for children.

For proper guidance on how to treat your sleep maladies, schedule a consultation with CEENTA. Our board-certified sleep surgeons can determine your candidacy for many treatment options including the Inspire Sleep Apnea device. To set up your sleep consultation with Dr. Coughlin at our Steele Creek location today, click here to visit our online scheduling platform, search for "Kenneth Coughlin, MD" and type "Inspire" into your appointment comment section.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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