Upper Airway Surgery for Snoring and Sleep Apnoea

A personalized approach

Successful snoring surgery and sleep apnoea surgery depends on the accurate identification of the factors responsible for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in each person. A personalized approach is required because there is no single snoring or sleep apnoea surgery that works well for everyone. In selecting treatments for patients, the surgeons at ENT Associates follow the latest research on surgical evaluation and techniques to optimize surgical outcomes, and to minimize potential complications.




What are the procedures for snoring and sleep apnoea?

The surgeons at ENT Associates perform a wide range of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea surgery. Our goal is to achieve the best results with the lowest risks, and this is possible through the appropriate use of everything from minimally-invasive options like radiofrequency treatment to combined multi-stage operations on nose, palate and tongue. 

Nose procedures:

In patients with an abnormal nasal airway, it is considered pivotal to perform nasal surgery first before considering any other form of treatment, surgical or otherwise.  Commonly performed nasal operations are septoplasty, rhinoplasty and/or turbinoplasty.

Palate procedures:

In majority of patients, tonsils, soft palate, uvula or the outer walls of the pharynx (throat) are major contributers to snoring or sleep apnoea. Procedures at this level aim to widen the size of the airway to reduce the speed and turbulence of airflow during sleep. Various commonly performed palate procedures are Modified UPPP or U3P (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty), Expansion Pharyngoplasty, Lateral Pharyngoplasty as well as Tonsillectomy.

Tongue procedures:

In many patients, there is additional collapse at the level of back of the tongue, known as base of tongue, that contributes to snoring or sleep apnoea. If careful evaluation reveals this to be the case, your surgeon will discuss following options with you: Tongue Channeling, Lingual Tonsillectomy and Tongue Base Reduction.

The latest exciting development in surgical treatment of Sleep Apnoea is a small implant that maintains tone in the tongue muscles, stopping them from collapsing during sleep. Furthermore, through connections with some muscles of the palate, this increased tone improves obstruction at the level of the soft palate as well. This procedure is called Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation. 

Which procedure do I need?

This depends on which parts of your upper airway are contributing to your snoring or sleep apnoea. To diagnose this, your surgeon will assess your entire upper airway in a thorough, step-by-step fashion. He will also organise a sleep study to look at how bad the problem is. Following this assessment, he will show you the test results and video recording of your clinical findings and will discuss all suitable management options with you, both non-surgical and surgical.

What happens on the day of the operation?

You typically arrive at the hospital on the day of the procedure.  This operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and generally takes 2 to 3 hours.  Many patients can go on the same day if they feel up to it and are deemed medically fit for discharge.  

What can I expect after the operation?

Post operative pain can be expected and is managed with a combination of three different painkillers.  It is important to maintain nutrition and hydration with fluids and soft diet. Most discomfort resolves in 7-10 days or so.  It usually does not stop you from performing routine activities including work that is not too physically demanding.  Excessive physical exertion is not advised for two weeks. 

What are the risks?

Potential risks and complications are usually low.  These consist of a small risk of unusual bleeding past 12 hours after surgery and a small risk of infection.  It is not uncommon to notice persistent snoring or obstruction while the post-operative swelling is resolving.  It is therefore important to be patient while your airway recovers from this extensive procedure.

This page provides you with general information about surgery for snoring and sleep apnoea.  Your surgeon will discuss further details specific to your case during your consultation with him.  Please do remember to note down any questions you might have while you are waiting to see him or to have the operation.