Snoring and other sleep disturbed breathing phenomena are common but frequently go undiagnosed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing that disrupts sleep and leads to a significant number of physical and mental problems. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome are at risk for heart disease, stroke, memory loss and motor vehicle accidents. This serious condition can be exacerbated by excessive weight gain and compounded by poor sleep hygiene or irregular rest hours.
Our Center for Sleep Disorders can help patients with sleep problems receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment. If a diagnosis of sleep apnea is established by polysomnography (sleep test), a trial of continuous positive air pressure (C-PAP) treatment is frequently recommended.
If a patient wishes to explore surgical options as treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, a thorough evaluation is performed with complete head and neck examination, often including nasal endoscopy, flexible laryngoscopy and, in some cases, drug induced sleep endoscopy to identify anatomic and physiologic levels of obstruction during apneic episodes. An individualized treatment plan can then be developed. Patients may need nasal surgery to relieve nasal congestion and obstruction during sleep. In some cases, anatomic variations may dictate a need for palatal surgery. The Center offers transoral robotic procedures (TORS) for OSA as well. Palate stiffening procedures are also available for severe snoring in the absence of sleep apnea.
Extensive counseling and support is available for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Weight loss programs are coordinated with endocrinologists and nutritionists or with bariatric surgeons. This approach, integrating medical and surgical treatment options, leads to outstanding outcomes with improved quality of life.