For many years, sleep apnea treatments were limited to a few options that fell at different extremes. The gold standard in non-surgical treatment was a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, but if your symptoms were severe enough and caused by anatomical issues, a surgery might have been recommended. For many people, CPAP was and still is the primary mode of treatment – and while it may be an effective treatment option for some, others who are intolerant or non-compliant have found themselves out of luck. Unfortunately, for patients who are not able to use their CPAP on a nightly basis as prescribed, this means that they are subjected to all of the grave health risks and consequences of sleep apnea, including heart attack and stroke.
The good news for sleep apnics is that today there are new sleep apnea treatments that fall in between these two ends of the treatment spectrum. The Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta specializes in providing the latest, minimally invasive sleep apnea treatments that can target the underlying causes of OSA and deliver long-lasting relief – all from simple procedures performed right in the doctor’s office.
In this blog, we’ll explain what these new sleep apnea treatments involve, what they treat and how they improve symptoms.
Sleep Apnea Treatments Must Be Tailored to the Underlying Cause of Obstruction
Before undertaking any type of treatment for sleep apnea, it is important to understand that the most crucial aspect of any effective treatment is that it is tailored to the specific root cause of the problem.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by a number of different factors that include, but are not limited to:
- Excess skin in the soft palate
- A large tongue or weak tongue muscles
- Nasal polyps
- A deviated septum
The only way to determine what is causing your particular case of sleep apnea is to have a sleep specialist do a thorough evaluation to assess all of the structures that could potentially be contributing to airway obstruction. If necessary, a sleep study may be recommended in order to confirm a sleep apnea diagnosis and assess the severity of the condition.
New Sleep Apnea Treatments Offered in Atlanta
Once a sleep specialist has pinpointed the underlying cause of your sleep apnea, there are several minimally invasive treatments to consider. Dr. Pradeep Sinha at the Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta will explain your options and describe what each treatment will entail. Fortunately, the majority of these procedures can be performed from the comfort and convenience of the doctor’s office and many will take less than an hour with minimal downtime. Here’s a look at some of the new sleep apnea treatments offered at our practice.
Base of Tongue Ablation
This minimally invasive procedure is used when a large tongue is the primary culprit behind nighttime airway obstruction. It involves applying targeted radio frequency waves at the base of the tongue to shrink the volume of this area and enlarge the airway. Over the course of the following weeks, the targeted tissue will be reabsorbed into the body due to the small, coagulated lesions formed during the procedure.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy involves the use of a small oral device that is molded to fit the shape of your mouth. It is recommened when your tongue tends to fall backwards as you sleep or if you have a narrow airway. Worn on a nightly basis, an oral appliance repositions the jaw and stabilizes the tongue, effectively enlarging the airway. It also makes it less likely that the tongue will fall backwards and block your airway during sleep.
Sometimes the cause of your sleep apnea is loose or excess soft palate tissue. This skin can flap and vibrate when you breathe and can partially or completely cover your airway. This sleep apnea treatment involves inserting small, woven inserts into the soft palate after administering a local anesthetic. Following the in-office procedure, the skin of the soft palate heals around the inserts, causing the palate to grow firmer and more stable so that it no longer causes problems while you sleep.
If extra skin in the soft palate is blocking your airway at night, a soft palate Coblation may be suggested as an alternative to the Pillar Procedure. This is one of the sleep apnea treatments that uses targeted radio frequency waves to gently reduce and stabilize excess skin. Once this occurs, your airway is opened up and skin-causing obstruction is minimized or eliminated.
Base of tongue ablation, oral appliance therapy, the Pillar Procedure and palate Coblation are just a few of the available sleep apnea treatments. A consultation with Dr. Pradeep Sinha is the first step to learning about the sleep apnea treatments that are best suited to your needs.
Schedule a Consultation to Break Free from CPAP
If CPAP isn’t working for you, we can help. Today, patients with sleep apnea have more treatment options than ever. If you want to learn more about these options and find out what procedures you may be a good candidate for, the first step is to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Sinha at the Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta. You can also get started by filling out the appointment form right on this page.