Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

A wide variety of non-surgical and surgical options exist for managing sleep apnea. The affiliated sleep specialists at Memorial Hermann are experienced in leading-edge treatments and can recommend a treatment option that meets each patient’s specific needs. When patients do not respond to or tolerate non-surgical treatment, surgical options may be considered.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

CPAP therapy involves a specialized, portable machine that uses gentle air pressure to keep your airway open during sleep. Air travels through the machine’s tubing and through a mask, into your nose and mouth, maintaining a specified level of air pressure that keeps the airways open so you can breathe normally. CPAP therapy is appropriate for people with mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea and is considered the most effective treatment for OSA.

Oral-Appliance Therapy

An oral appliance adjusts the position of your jaw to keep your airways open while you sleep. This type of therapy can be effective for people with mild or moderate sleep apnea.

Surgical Treatment Options

Upper Airway Stimulation with the Inspire Procedure

Upper airway stimulation, also known as hypoglossal nerve stimulation, is an option for people who have difficulty using CPAP therapy. With the Inspire procedure, a medical device is surgically implanted under the skin in the chest area, where it remains indefinitely and is controlled by a remote programmer.

The device, when turned on, sends a signal to the hypoglossal nerve- the main nerve that supplies the tongue. This prevents the tongue from blocking the airway which significantly reduces snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea. The stimulation is mild, and patients remain asleep while the device is working.

Learn More About the Inspire Procedure

Maxillomandibular Advancement

Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) is a surgical procedure for patients with moderate to severe OSA. During the procedure, both the upper and lower jaws are moved forward to enlarge the airway and allow for unobstructed breathing during sleep.

Turbinate Reduction

An enlarged turbinate (breathing passage in the nose) can contribute to OSA. Turbinate reduction is a minimally invasive procedure where a section of bone and tissue is removed from the nasal passage to provide more room for oxygen to flow.

Modified Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is a surgical procedure to remove tissue in the throat area to enlarge the airway and improve breathing during sleep. Depending on the patient’s specific anatomy, the procedure may remove the uvula, adenoids or tonsils.


The septum is the cartilage that divides the two halves of the nose. Septoplasty is performed to correct a deviated septum, where the cartilage is not evenly aligned or is crooked. Repositioning the septum to its correct location can reduce or eliminate a breathing obstruction and help manage OSA.

Learn More

Sleep apnea is about more than just being tired. It is a chronic sleep disorder that needs treatment to help prevent or manage other chronic medical conditions. If you are suffering from symptoms like snoring or daytime sleepiness, it is important to see your doctor.

To find out more about sleep disorders or to make an appointment with a sleep specialist, please complete the Contact Us form below.

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