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Surgery To Treat Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment and Management Presentation

Sleep apnea diagnosis

Sleep apnea – which often goes undiagnosed because it only occurs while sleeping – deprives the patient of adequate rest, and can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease and stroke. Snoring, or obstructed breathing, can indicate sleep apnea. Snoring is caused by structural issues in the mouth and throat, including excessive throat tissue or a long soft palate.

Through a sleep study, our experienced affiliated physicians can diagnose the patient's condition and develop a treatment plan, either surgical or non-surgical.

Common diagnoses requiring treatment include:

  • Nasal obstruction or blockage
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Snoring

McGovern Medical School at UTHealth-affiliated physicians at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center offer both surgical and non-surgical treatment options for these conditions. Surgical options include:

Maxillomandibular Advancement

Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) is a surgical procedure that moves the upper jaw (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible) forward to enlarge the airway. Performed under general anesthesia, the procedure has a high success rate when used in appropriate patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). MMA has the highest proven effectiveness of any surgical procedure for severe OSA.

Learn about one patient's decision to treat his OSA with the Maxillomandibular Advancement procedure at Memorial Hermann-TMC »

Inferior turbinate reduction

Turbinate reduction is usually a minimally-invasive procedure with an entry point at the nostrils in which a small incision is made in the lining of the turbinate and a piece of bone is removed. The mass of tissue surrounding the bone can also be reduced.

Modified uvulopalatalpharyngoplasty

Uvulopalatalpharyngoplasty is a surgery to remove tissue in the throat area, and can involve the removal of the uvula, tonsils, adenoids and soft palate to open the airway and improve breathing. The procedure can also include the removal part of the tongue.


A Septoplasty attempts to even out the partition between the two nasal cavities, which is usually done by realigning bone and cartilage. The surgeon will work through the nostrils to make an incision in the lining of the septum to reach the are targeted in the operation.

Our affiliated physicians have extensive expertise in the treatment of sleep apnea, and offer patients quality outcomes and personalized care throughout the diagnosis and treatment process. 

Non-surgical treatment for sleep apnea

Oral appliance therapy is a non-surgical treatment option to CPAP for those who are referred by their sleep medicine physician only after a sleep study establishes a diagnosis of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and CPAP has been properly discussed and utilized . The oral appliance device may not be as effective as CPAP, but offers an option to help improve the quality of sleep. The device is held in place by the teeth, positioning the lower jaw and tongue in a forward position. This enlarges the space in the back of the throat and thus reduces tissue obstruction.

There are different types of oral appliances that are available, the most widely used and researched being the Mandibular Repositioning Appliance, or MRA – also called a Mandibular Advancing Device (MAD).

It is important that the device has been certified effective by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Certified oral appliances have also been approved by the American college of Chest Physicians and American Academy of Sleep Medicine in appropriate situations.

See how one patient is treating OSA with the use of an oral appliance »

Contact Us

For more information regarding sleep apnea management and treatment options, please call (713) 222-CARE (2273).