Sleep Apnea Surgery Options | Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep Apnea Surgery Options

Sleep apnea surgery is usually sought out as a last resort for patients suffering from severe obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea surgery in adults most often takes into account the tongue, throat, neck and/or the nose.

There are times when more than one surgical procedure is combined for optimum results.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty - UPPP

The most commonly undertaken sleep apnea surgery is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. This is also known in its abbreviated form as UPPP. In some cases, sleep apnea takes place because of too much tissue in the area of either the soft palate or the uvula.

In a standard UPPP operation, the airway is made larger by the process of opening the airway at the soft palate. In other cases, a section of the soft palate known as the uvula and tissue from the sides of the mouth is taken out and this may or may not include the tonsils.

An oscillating blade is used to perform UPPP surgery. Closely following on the heels of UPPP is laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (or LAUP). This type is exactly like UPPP only it takes place with a laser instead of a blade.


A tonsillectomy and/or an adenoidectomy are undertaken if a patient has either tonsils or adenoids that are infected and/or excessively large and are obstructing the airway while they sleep at night.

In these circumstances either the tonsils or the adenoids or both are surgically removed. This is often an choice undertaken for young sleep apnea sufferers. When it comes to adult patients sometimes this operation is performed on its own or else it is done along with a LAUP or UPPP operation.


A tracheostomy is the final sleep apnea surgery that physicians recommend for patients as it can not only be risky health wise but it can give rise to other health problems. However this extreme form of sleep apnea surgery is very successful at ridding a person of sleep apnea.

In this case the doctor makes a hole in the patient’s trachea (or windpipe) and then a tracheotomy tube is placed in the hole to allow air to freely flow through, thereby allowing the patient to breathe properly.

Mandibular Advancement

Mandibular advancement or mandibular myotomy is a way to reposition a patient’s tongue in order to keep it from causing breathing problems. When it comes to this type of sleep apnea surgery, “the jawbone is broken, moved forward and fixed temporarily to move the chin and tongue away from the back of the throat.”

In general this guarantees that the tongue is brought anyway from six to ten millimeters forward.

Radiofrequency Ablation

In some people their tongue is so large that it obstructs breathing and encourages sleep apnea to occur. There is a surgical procedure known as a radiofrequency ablation of the tongue that can improve this situation.

A radiofrequency probe is applied to the back of the throat area over the course of five treatments. The heat from the probe works to shrink the overall volume of the tongue thus making air obstruction less likely.

Hyoid Advancement

Another form of sleep apnea surgical advancement, known as hyoid advancement is when a bone that is found in the neck known as the hyoid bone is moved or “advanced” forward in order to appropriately open the airway in the neck region.

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