Sleep Apnea

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea symptoms occur, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.

Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.

Some patients have obstructions that are less severe called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), who experience many of the same symptoms.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The first step in treatment consists of recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons offer consultation and treatment options.

In addition to studying a detailed history, the doctors will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. With cephalometic (skull x-ray) analysis, the doctors can ascertain the level of obstruction. Sometimes a naso-pharyngeal exam is done 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 individuals overnight.

There are several treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night.

One of the surgical options is uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasty (UPPP), which is performed in the back of the soft palate and throat. A similar procedure is sometimes done with the assistance of a laser and is called a Laser Assisted uvulo-palato-plasty (LAUP). In other cases, a radio-frequency probe is utilized to tighten the soft palate. These are procedure usually performed under light intravenous sedation in the office.

In more complex cases, the bones of the upper and lower jaw may be repositioned to increase the size of the airway. This is done in the hospital under general anesthesia and requires one to two nights in the hospital. OSA is a very serious condition needing careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.

A consultation with Dr. Will can help you determine if you can undergo treatment for sleep apnea symptoms. Contact Will Surgical Arts in Maryland to learn more about sleep apnea and treatment options. Our oral and maxillofacial surgery practice is conveniently located in Ijamsville, MD and serves residents of the Washington,DC metro area and Frederick. We encourage you to call (301) 874-1707 to find out more about treatments for sleep apnea in Maryland.

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Meet Doctor Will

Dr. Michael J. Will cosmetic surgeon Maryland received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Jefferson College, his dental degree from Georgetown University and his medical degree from the University of Texas.

He completed his General Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery training at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Will also completed a General Cosmetic Surgery fellowship at the Cosmetic Surgery Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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