Treatment for Sleep Apnea
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that goes far beyond just snoring. CPAP is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP is extremely beneficial to your future health without having to have surgery. Those who wear the mask on a regular basis will notice a large difference in their daytime performance. It works by having a flow of air create a pressure in the back of your throat and mouth to hold open the soft tissues that are falling back and closing your airway.
While the CPAP mask remains the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, there are a number of common complaints that may cause patients and doctors to seek alternate forms of treatment. These discomforts may include:
- Sore or dry eyes
- Redness on the face where the mask contacts the skin
- Cold nose due to cold air from the mask
- Dryness or burning in the back of the throat
- Nasal, sinus or ear pain
- Feeling claustrophobic
da Vinci Robot-assisted Sleep Apnea Surgery
Previous surgical options for treating sleep apnea involved creating a large opening in the neck and jaw – and sometimes the need to break the jawbone. Recovery time was often lengthy.
The use of da Vinci robot-assisted surgery for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is revolutionary due to the minimally invasive nature of the procedure. With amazing dexterity and precision, the surgeon guides the robotic arms in through the patient’s mouth rather than through the neck. The high-definition camera allows the surgeon to perfectly visualize areas of the mouth and throat that in the past could only be seen through open incisions.
Dr. Mark A. D’Agostino is one of only a handful of surgeons in the world who use da Vinci to perform the TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) procedure for the treatment of sleep apnea using the da Vinci robot.
The surgery is primarily for patients whose sleep apnea is due to having tongue-based obstruction because it focuses on reducing the size of the base of the tongue.
Middlesex Hospital is the first hospital in Connecticut to offer Inspire therapy, an innovative new treatment for sleep apnea patients who haven’t had success with the CPAP mask. A small implant monitors your breathing while you sleep and, based on your unique breathing patterns, gently stimulates the muscles needed to keep your airway open. The entire system is made up of three parts: a small generator, a breathing sensor lead and a stimulation lead—and it is all controlled by a handheld remote.
The primary benefit of Inspire therapy is that it can be implanted by Dr. D’agostino in a simple outpatient procedure with no permanent modification to any part of your body. And studies show that patients are seeing outstanding results—with a compliance rate of 90% and a success rate of 60%.
There are dental devices that fit in your mouth much like a mouth guard, but the device pulls your lower jaw forward not allowing tissue to block the airway. This treatment does not suit everyone and should be discussed with a Sleep Medicine Physician or a Dentist familiar with MAD (Mandibular Advancement Devices).
We are currently the only sleep center in Connecticut that has the MATRx™ device for dental device titration. With traditional methods of properly setting a dental device, you would make multiple changes over several weeks with a sleep screening/study with each change. With a MATRx™ titration that's all taken care of in a single night of titration in the sleep center.
Provent® is an EPAP (Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure) device that fits onto the end of your nose. The pressure caused by your own breath keeps your airway open for mild to moderate sleep apnea patients. For more information on this therapy and how it works click here.
Positional OSA Therapy
Some individuals have Sleep Apnea only when they lay on their backs. This type of OSA can be treated with a simple wedge or belt that doesn't allow you to turn to your back.
There are several other options offered some of which you may have seen on TV or local drug stores. These options only work in certain situations and should be discussed with a Sleep Medicine Physician.