Oral and Facial Surgery of the Shoals  
Oral and Facial Surgeery of the Shoals



Snoring is not only bothersome to loved ones, it can also be indicative of a serious medical problem, the Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome of "Sleep Apnea". While many people who snore do not have sleep apnea, their snoring can be completely disruptive to the sleep of others, often requiring loved ones to sleep in separate beds or even separate rooms.

For some people, however, snoring is one of the cardinal signs of sleep apnea, the other hallmark sign being excessive daytime sleepiness. Patients who are afflicted with this disorder are unaware that they struggle to breathe while sleeping due to significant obstruction of their airway. Causes of this obstruction can include nasal obstruction due to a deviated nasal septum, a long soft palate and uvula, a large tongue, and/or a recessive chin and jaw.

Problems associated with sleep apnea can include excessive drowsiness leading to poor concentration at tasks and an increased accident rate, high blood pressure, heart disease, impotence, and personality changes.

Do You Have Sleep Apnea?
  • Do you snore loudly?
  • Are you told that you experience long breathing pauses when you sleep?
  • Do you awaken gasping in the middle of the night?
  • Do you experience headaches in the morning upon awakening?
  • Do you fall asleep easily at inappropriate times such as at your desk, while driving, or at stop lights?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may have sleep apnea and should have your condition evaluated.

Uncomplicated snoring can be treated in a variety of ways, including a laser procedure performed on the soft palate and uvula called the laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty or "LAUP". This procedure, performed under a light monitored intravenous sedation in the office, vastly reduces or eliminates snoring in a single treatment in most patients, and allows the patient to resume completely normal activities the next day! This procedure can also be effective in treating some cases of sleep apnea in the appropriate patient.

Illustration ©1994 Luxar Corporation

Additional outpatient procedures that can be of benefit in many instances of sleep apnea include nasal septoplasty to straighten a deviated nasal septum and surgery to advance the chin or jaw to an appropriate position when they are recessive. These procedures serve to open the airway and reduce obstruction to breathing at the level of the nose, the soft palate, and at the base of the tongue.

After a thorough office evaluation, your condition can be determined and recommendations can be made from among the various treatment options regarding the proper course of treatment.