Sleep Surgery

Sleep Surgery
Sleep Surgery

Sleep Surgery

Sleep surgery is the specialty that focuses on surgery for treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It includes techniques and procedures to evaluate the breathing passages thoroughly and surgeries to enlarge and stabilize the breathing passages. These surgeries facilitate other non-surgical treatments (eg, CPAP, dental devices) and improve the symptoms and consequences of sleep apnea.


Surgery evaluation techniques enable identification of obstructing tissues and structures contributing to sleep apnea. Most are non-invasive or minimally invasive and are performed in the clinic. Examples include:

  • Physical examination
  • Acoustic rhinometry
  • Peak inspiratory flow 
  • Nasal endoscopy 
  • Fiberoptic laryngoscopy 
  • Sleep endoscopy (performed under sedation)


Nasal surgeries improve tolerance of CPAP, effectiveness of dental devices, daytime nasal breathing, snoring, and mild sleep apnea. Examples of nasal surgeries include:

  • Septoplasty (corrects internal deformities)
  • Septorhinoplasty (corrects internal and external deformities that compromise breathing)
  • Turbinate reduction (reduces obstructing tissues in the nose)


Airway surgeries to treat snoring and sleep apnea include, for example:

  • Palate stiffening (reduces snoring with implants or radiofrequency)
  • Tonsillectomy, lingual tonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy (remove obstructing tissues)
  • Uvuloplalatopharyngoplasty (prevents collapse of the tissues in the back of the mouth)
  • Partial glossectomy (reduces tongue size)
  • Genioglossus advancement (reduces tongue collapse)
  • Hyoid suspension (lifts and stabilizes the airway from the neck)
  • Epiglottoplasty (stabilizes the voice box cover)
  • Maxillomandibular advancement (moves jaws forward to open and stabilize the throat)
  • Tracheotomy (bypasses the throat for breathing but still allows normal daytime function)
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Do you need treatment? 

Individualized treatment plans for obstructive sleep apnea are designed for each patient after careful evaluation and discussion of the options. Surgery often involves staged procedures to treat all sites of obstruction.

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