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Sleep Apnea Osa Treatment Jaw Surgery

Sleep Apnea Osa Treatment Jaw Surgery


In a perfect world, everyone would sleep soundly and wake rested; but for those suffering with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is just a dream. From excessive daytime sleepiness and loss of concentration to depression and cardiovascular problems, sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can be successfully treated by a team of highly skilled surgeons in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) at Boston Medical Center.

Now with quicker operating times, shorter hospital stays and fewer complications, modern day jaw surgery is a viable option for patients when CPAP treatment fails to relieve symptoms or proves intolerable. Recommended for patients age 16 and above, jaw surgery is a very common procedure performed today and BMC surgeons perform the highest number of such surgeries in New England.

"Everyone used to undergo a first-line surgical procedure involving the tongue, palate or throat regions to treat OSA," said Pushkar Mehra, MD, Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Boston Medical Center. "However, the success rate in relieving sleep apnea was approximately only 30% and even lower for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. When phase 1 surgery didn't work, the patient would then undergo jaw advancement surgery which was shown to have nearly a 100% success rate."

Now patients can skip that first surgery. An evaluating physician will locate the obstruction by assessing a patient's facial structures including the nose, throat, jaws, palate and chin areas during an initial consultation. Additional 3D cat scans, computer tracings and simulations are done in tandem and combined form an individualized treatment plan.

If jaw surgery is recommended, the bones of the upper and lower jaw are repositioned during the procedure to increase the size of the airway, providing permanent relief to the patient. Intranasal surgery is also performed in the same setting, if required. The hospital stay is typically two to three days with the first two weeks following surgery requiring activity limited to walking and drinking. Normal life can resume within two to four weeks, barring very strenuous tasks like the gym and contact sports.

At BMC's Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, three surgeons perform this surgery and candidates for sleep apnea targeted jaw surgery can usually be seen within two weeks for consultation.

To schedule an appointment, call 617.638.4350.

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