Snoring / Sleep Disorders
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that involves breathing problems during sleep, as the throat muscles relax and block the airway. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea often experience loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, insomnia and waking up with a sore throat. This condition can affect anyone from children to adults. We usually order a sleep study in order to differentiate snorers who have a level of obstructive sleep apnea. Patients with sleep apnea usually require a trial with CPAP prior to any surgical discussion.
If there is a nasal anatomy problem that interferes with the use of CPAP, that is easily corrected so that CPAP can be better tolerated.
During normal breathing, air passes through the throat on its way to the lungs. The air travels past the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, epiglottis and tongue. When a person is awake, the muscles in the back of the throat tighten to hold these structures in place, preventing them from collapsing into the airway. During sleep, these structures can collapse into the airway, causing snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. UPPP with or without tonsillectomy are surgical procedures designed to correct the collapse of these structures.
Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct defects or deformities of the septum. The nasal septum is the wall that divides the inside of the nose in half. If crooked, it can impair the ability of air to flow into the throat and ultimately in to the lungs. Septoplasty is an outpatient procedure or sometimes can be performed by Dr. Sterling in the office depending on what is needed to correct.
Turbinate reduction surgery is a procedure that shrinks the turbinates in order to alleviate chronic nasal congestion and nasal obstruction. The turbinates are small curved bones that extend horizontally along the wall of the nasal passage. Their purpose is to humidify and filter the air that is inhaled through the nose. The inferior turbinate fills the lower portion of the nasal airway and can become very swollen in response to allergies or infections. When a patient’s turbinate is abnormally large and does not respond to traditional therapies such as antihistamines or antibiotics, surgical intervention may be recommended.
During surgery, the turbinate is shrunk by the placement of a surgical probe. The submucosal tissue is vaporized while the mucosal layer is preserved to allow for continued nasal humidification. Dr. Sterling is able to perform this procedure in the office if desired.