Three Surgical Approaches To Treating Sleep Apnea

Posted on: 20 November 2017


If you suffer from sleep apnea, there are an array of treatments your doctor may recommend. They will probably advise that you start with a non-invasive treatment such as sleeping with a C-PAP machine or a mouth guard. If these treatments do not work, you will have the choice of surgery. Here are three major surgical approaches that may be recommended for the treatment of sleep apnea.


This procedure is called a UPPP because the real name, Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, is so hard to say. It's a good choice for moderate sleep apnea in which the airway at the back of your throat seems to be too narrow and collapses in on itself while you sleep, leading to snoring and difficulty breathing. The UPPP trims down the soft palate, which is the tissue at the roof and back of your mouth. Your tonsils will be removed, and some of the muscles in the area will be re-positioned or reduced in size. In some cases, your surgeon will also remove the uvula, which is the piece of tissue you see dangling in the back of your throat.

Seroplasty Reduction

Sometimes, sleep apnea may be related to a deviated septum that makes it hard for you to breathe out of your nose during the night. Your septum may be deviated due to a previous injury or because of a birth defect. In either case, your surgeon will remove the upper portion of the septum. Usually, the bottom portion of the septum, which you see when you look at your face, will be left in tact. Removing the septum widens the nasal passage so you have an easier time breathing through it and are less likely to stop breathing at night.

Glossal Advancement

Glossal advancement is the fancy name for a surgical procedure in which the tongue's attachment point is moved more forward in the mouth. This surgical procedure may be recommended if your doctor finds that your tongue falls down over your airway at night, preventing you from breathing properly. Your tongue is not actually cut during the procedure. Rather, a portion of bone is removed from your jaw, so the bone to which your tongue is attached ends up more forward in your mouth.

Which surgical approach your doctor recommends will depend on the causes of your sleep apnea. To learn more about these procedures, reach out to an ENT specialist in your area.