Knoxville Sleep Apnea Treatment
Do you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air? Do you snore loudly? Are you plagued by daytime sleepiness no matter how many hours of sleep you get? You could be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, a common but serious disorder. Even though obstructive sleep apnea is most often seen in older adults, people carrying excess weight and men, it can affect anyone, including children. If you think you have sleep apnea, or you’ve been diagnosed and haven’t found a treatment option that works, schedule a consultation with us today. Our Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Dr. Eisenberg is an expert in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea in Knoxville, TN. She can help you reclaim your sleep (and your life!).
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where the upper airway collapses as you sleep, which reduces or stops airflow. The brain senses you’re not able to breathe, you wake up briefly and the airway reopens. This cycle of your breathing stopping and restarting can occur more than 30 times per hour in severe cases. Many people don’t even remember waking up, which is one of the reasons why the condition often goes undiagnosed.
Signs of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, sore throat in the morning and the cessation of breathing followed by gasping for air (observed by a sleep partner). The fragmented sleep and hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen, that results from obstructive sleep apnea can have serious and even life-threatening consequences, making an accurate diagnosis and successful treatment so important.
Benefits of Sleep Apnea Treatment
Decreases the Risk of Serious Health Effects
Treating sleep apnea will reduce your risk of developing serious, long-term health effects like heart disease and high blood pressure.
Opens the Airway
By opening the airway, snoring will be reduced and apnea episodes will stop or lessen, allowing you to get necessary oxygen.
Improves Sleep Quality
By improving the quantity and quality of your sleep, you’ll experience a boost in energy levels, alertness, attention, mood, memory, and work performance.
The Consequences of Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea can significantly impact your quality of life and health. If not treated, sleep apnea won’t just leave you feeling tired, it can also lead to:
- Relationship and work problems
- Difficulty concentrating and focusing
- Memory loss
- Impaired judgement
- Changes in your metabolism
- Automobile and work-related accidents
- Sexual dysfunction
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Heart failure
Once Dr. Eisenberg has diagnosed you with obstructive sleep apnea, she’ll create a personalized treatment plan. While we do offer surgical sleep apnea treatment in Knoxville at our practice, Dr. Eisenberg may recommend that you try more conservative options first.
For mild sleep apnea, lifestyle changes like losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol before bed and changing your sleep posture could help. For moderate obstructive sleep apnea, an oral appliance, external nasal support device, medication or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy would likely be more successful.
If non-surgical treatments don’t work and you have severe sleep apnea, Dr. Eisenberg will then walk you through the pros and cons of the different sleep apnea surgery procedures. Options include tracheostomy, procedures that involve opening the airway by removing or remodeling tissue in the top of the throat (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and laser-assisted uvuloplasty), tongue reduction surgery (reduction glossectomy), nasal surgery, and removing the tonsils and adenoids. These procedures, which would be referred to an ENT, have varying degrees of effectiveness.
Dr. Eisenberg can also surgically move the upper and lower jaws forward, known as Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA), to treat sleep apnea. MMA, sometimes referred to as bimaxillary advancement or double jaw advancement, enlarges the airway in both the tongue and palate regions by moving the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) forward, relieving both “choke” points. Compared to other procedures, MMA gives patients the most significant improvement in obstructive sleep apnea, which is why it’s the main type of skeletal surgery for treating the disorder.
The recovery from MMA is fairly lengthy and there are a different set of potential risks. For this reason, the procedure is generally performed on patients who have not experienced sufficient improvement in sleep apnea after other procedures. However, in some patients with jaw abnormalities, it can be a first-line surgical treatment. The surgery has been successfully performed for over 35 years and long-term success rates are close to 90%.
Your Comfort is Our Top Priority
At our Knoxville, Tennessee oral surgery practice, we rely on cutting-edge technology and our in-depth experience to offer high quality care to patients of all ages in a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. If you’re ready to maintain or restore your oral health and smile aesthetics, schedule a visit with us today!