23 Apr Sleep Apnea: Looking for a CPAP alternative?
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device is highly effective in treating the symptoms of sleep apnea, but many patients find that the clunky mask makes them feel somewhat claustrophobic and interferes with the quality of their sleep nearly as much as the apnea does.
Patients who would like an alternative to a CPAP may want to consult with an oral surgeon to learn about other treatment options that may eliminate the need for the CPAP.
Sleep apnea develops when the airway’s opening is covered up repeatedly throughout the night, causing patients to stop breathing briefly each time. Patients may not be aware of the apneic episodes, which are made evident by symptoms such as excessive snoring, daytime drowsiness and frequent headaches or sore throats upon waking.
The CPAP corrects the condition by forcing air into the patient’s airway through the mask. This keeps the airway open throughout the night and reduces the likelihood of apneic episodes.
The conditions that increase the patient’s susceptibility to apnea are sometimes rooted in the positioning of the jaw, which can make it easier for the soft tissues to slide back and block the airway opening. An oral surgeon can intervene to reposition the jaws in a way that helps the airway to remain open throughout sleep. Other issues, such as excess soft tissue at the rear of the throat, may also be targeted for surgical interventions.
Before getting treatment for apnea, patients must undergo a sleep study to confirm that they have the condition. Your surgeon can give you more information on this process if you have not completed such a study.
Many serious health risks appear to have a correlation with sleep apnea, including stroke and heart attack, so it’s important to get treatment for this condition if you have it. If you’ve not had success with a CPAP (or would prefer to avoid that intervention entirely), contact Great River Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and schedule an appointment with one of our oral surgeons to get information about your alternatives.