Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does jaw surgery cure sleep apnea?"
I snore when I sleep and sometimes I stop breathing. I thought it was a problem with my nose. Could it be a problem with my jaw?
Sleep apnea is a common problem among adults and children. Sleep apnea can lead to other medical problems. If you think you have sleep apnea, you should speak with your physician. Sleep apnea is usually due to collapse of the soft tissues of the airway at different levels. It can occur at the level of the soft palate, the tonsils, the side walls of the throat or the base of the tongue. Sleep apnea is diagnosed after obtaining a sleep study. You are monitored overnight and the amount of times that you stop breathing during sleep is observed. You can have mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea. It is important to be treated for sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine. This will help to keep the airway open so that there is no apneic event. Sleep apnea can lead to other problems with your heart, lungs, etc. This is why it is important for a correct diagnosis and then treatment. If CPAP is not tolerated there are procedures that can be done to help decrease sleep apnea. Some surgeries include trimming the soft palate, trimming the base of the tongue. There are also surgeries that can advance the jaw. These are helpful if the jaw is set back enough to push the tongue base into the airway. You should discuss with your primary physician if you are concerned that you have sleep apnea.
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