Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the walls of the pharynx collapse inward during sleep and obstruct the airway. Patients experience repeated episodes of airway obstruction throughout the night, causing sleep disruption, poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness. Untreated OSA can lead to decreased alertness, difficulty functioning at work, depression and decreased interest in social interaction. Patients with OSA also have an increased risk of developing hypertension, heart disease and cerebrovascular disease.
If OSA is suspected, a thorough examination of the airway is indicated. This involves an in-office examination of the nasal, pharyngeal, hypo-pharyngeal and laryngeal airway. If indicated, an overnight sleep study is performed. In most cases this can be performed in the comfort of the patient’s own home. For special cases, the study is done in a sleep laboratory. The sleep study determines the presence or absence of obstructive sleep apnea and, if present, determines the severity. If necessary, a drug-induced sleep endoscopy can also be performed. The study involved observing the airway while sleeping is induced. This allows precise identification of the site of airway obstruction and the anatomic structures contributing to the obstruction.
Once OSA is diagnosed, treatment is recommended. Treatment options include weight loss, positioning during sleep, continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP, an oral appliance and surgical therapy. Surgical treatment options include correction of nasal airway obstruction, upper airway surgery and hypoglossal nerve stimulation (Inspire Therapy).
Choosing a treatment option depends on personal preference, individual anatomy, social factors and any other associated medical conditions. At Puget Sound ENT, we have the expertise and experience to help you choose the therapy that works for you.
Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, but is frequently seen in the absence of apneic events. The snoring noise is generally produced by vibration of the soft palate. Snoring is very common and can be a severe problem causing sleep disturbance for a bed mate. Treatment options include weight loss, positioning, correction of nasal airway obstruction, tonsillectomy and palate surgery. Palate procedures are generally accomplished under local anesthesia in an office setting. These procedures generally involve either shrinkage of palate tissue or insertion of stiffeners to diminish palate vibration.
“The INSPIRE implant for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea has been absolutely life-changing for me. I had chronic sinus infections due to a deviated septum and anatomical deformation of my sinuses. Working with Dr. Rogers and Dr. Parker, I had sinus surgery in 2011, and then twice again in 2017. My first surgery made breathing so much easier, and I’ve had barely any trace of sinus infection since then. I really appreciated that both doctors gave me my options and were willing to answer any questions I had. I never felt pressured into surgery, which is a huge decision, and I was able to make up my mind on my own time. I can now drive to work without having to stop and get out of my car every morning (because I was too sleepy for my 40-minute commute), I don’t have nightmares anymore, and I feel well-rested throughout the whole day. Going to sleep is no longer stressful for me. Puget Sound ENT has been so helpful in coordinating my INSPIRE appointments and figuring out billing for my insurance, which was not my experience at other clinics I worked with in the past.”
Snoring is caused by the vibration of soft tissue in the airway, usually the soft palate. Narrowing of the airway is most commonly due to nasal blockage, palate elongation, large tonsils and patient anatomy.
There are a wide variety of treatment options available. Recommended treatment for each patient depends on findings and examination, and patient preference. You don’t have to accept heavy snoring as part of daily life. At Puget Sound ENT, an otolaryngologist will provide a thorough examination of your nose, mouth, throat, palate, and airway. If needed, we’ll order a sleep study in a laboratory environment as well to help determine how serious the snoring is and what effects it has on the snorer’s health. Then, find a solution that fits your lifestyle.
CPAP delivers air into your airway through a specially designed nasal mask or pillow. The mask does not breathe for you; the flow of air creates enough pressure when you inhale to keep your airway open. CPAP is considered an effective nonsurgical treatment for the alleviation of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. For those who would prefer not to wear a mask at night, we also offer Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation Therapy – a cutting edge innovation that provides you with a restful night without the mask, hose, or noise.