Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common but potentially high-risk condition that can result in daytime drowsiness due to ongoing pauses in breathing and/or shallow breaths during sleep. The disordered breathing of OSA causes disruptions in the sleeping pattern and periodic waking. It can also cause low blood oxygen levels in the sleeper and, because of this, carries some serious health risks. Dr. Williams offers surgical procedures to correct sleep apnea in his patients, with the goal of improvement of sleep and overall health. Often, surgical treatment is done in conjunction with the use of nonsurgical treatments.
We find that our patients who are considering surgical treatment for sleep apnea are given a boost of confidence about treatment when they hear stories from our patients who have undergone these treatments at our practice. We encourage you to check out our Patient Stories page.
During your consultation appointment with Dr. Williams, he will determine if you are a candidate for surgical treatment — surgical treatment by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is indicated when sleep apnea is caused by physical obstruction of the airway during sleep. Imaging technology will be used to assess the anatomy of your maxillofacial region and ascertain the level of obstruction, and sometimes, the doctor will conduct a nasopharyngeal exam with a flexible fiber-optic camera. To confirm the amount of cardiovascular compromise and decreased oxygenation levels, a sleep study may be recommended to monitor you overnight.
Once a diagnosis of OSA is confirmed, by either your oral surgeon, your sleep specialist, or your general physician, surgery at our practice may be recommended, especially if noninvasive treatments have failed, such as the use of a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction while asleep. Depending on the severity of your condition, procedures to correct sleep apnea are usually performed in our practice under IV sedation. One of the in-office surgical options we provide as a treatment for OSA is the use of a laser or a radio-frequency probe on the tissues of the soft palate and throat to shrink or tighten them. In more severe cases, orthognathic surgery may be recommended to reposition the bones of the upper and lower jaw to increase the size of the airway. This procedure is done in the hospital under general anesthesia and often requires an overnight stay in the hospital.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
If you are suffering from any combination of the following symptoms, we suggest you make an appointment for an evaluation with Dr. Williams so that he can work with you to create a plan to get you back to health:
- Non-restorative sleep
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory problems
- Unexplained headaches
- Difficulty performing work/school duties
- Disruption of the sleep of a bed partner
If you suspect you are suffering from OSA/sleep apnea, it is important to be evaluated for the condition because the medical complications associated with this disorder can be quite severe and include high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Because of the severity of these risks, many medical plans offer coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of OSA.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea in North Conway and Littleton, NH
The surgical treatment for sleep apnea can be very effective and vastly improve a patient’s quality of life and overall health. If you believe your health would be improved with surgical treatment for your sleep apnea at our practice, or if you have been recommended for sleep apnea treatment, please contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Williams. We work closely with other members of our patient’s care team to develop a successful treatment plan for you so that you (and your partner) can finally get the uninterrupted sleep you need!