San Francisco might avoid the surgeon with an oral appliance for sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common and potentially life threatening condition that inhibits proper airflow during sleep. It is estimated that over 18 million people in America suffer from this condition, but only a small percentage of them are diagnosed and receive treatment.
Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea ranges from simple lifestyle changes to surgery, depending on the cause of the condition and its severity. Generally, a treatment plan will begin with the most conservative options, visiting a surgeon is usually only recommended if all other therapies have failed. Potential treatments include:
- Lifestyle changes – Changing sleeping position, avoiding sedatives within four hours of bedtime, quitting smoking, and losing weight are some of the most common, and conservative recommendations
- CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) – This therapy works by delivering gentle air pressure through a mask to keep the airway open while sleeping., Aalthough effective in most cases, patient compliance is low due to inconvenience and discomfort.
- BPAP (Bi-level positive airway pressure) – This system increases patient comfort somewhat by delivering less pressure when they are exhaling than when they are inhaling
- EPAP (Expiratory positive airway pressure) – This treatment, recently approved by the FDA uses small disposable devices that are placed over the nostrils, which allows air to enter freely, but provides resistance when exhaling to increase pressure in the airway to keep it open
- Oral appliances – A comfortable oral appliance can be worn to move the jaw forward and keep the airway open, other styles reposition the tongue to prevent it from blocking the throat, and either type may be an effective alternative to CPAP for mild to moderate levels of OSA.
- Surgery – In most cases, at least a three month trial of other methods is recommend first, unless a structural abnormality is the known cause, then visiting a surgeon is the first option recommended
- Pillars – Soft palate implants are used to reduce the vibration and stiffen the tissue
- Implanted device – This pacemaker-like system keeps the airways open by stimulating them with an electrical current
Dr. Leo Arellano and his team have provided relief to many OSA sufferers in and Around San Francisco. Call 415-881-4343 and schedule an appointment today.