OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be very disruptive to a healthy lifestyle. Sleep apnea causes interrupted sleep and low oxygen levels. People with sleep apnea have repeated cycles of decreased breathing while they sleep. When you reach the deepest stage of sleep your oral-pharyngeal musculature is most relaxed. In a person with sleep apnea, the tongue usually is sucked against the back of the throat, obstructing their upper airway, and airflow stops. The sleeper will then partially awaken, which will clear the obstruction, and airflow resumes. The cycle recurs as the sleeper falls back into the deeper stages of sleep. These repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation, and sleep interruption can lead to cardiovascular problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.
Obstructive sleep apnea is best diagnosed by undergoing a sleep study (polysomnography). Other modalities of diagnosis include a detailed history, physical examination, cephalometric x-rays (skull x-ray), and naso-pharyngeal exam with a flexible fiber-optic camera.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is treated both medically and surgically. There are many different treatment options for someone who suffers from OSA. These include medical treatments such as CPAP or BiPAP machines, dental jaw positioning devices, and surgical treatments such as uvulo-palato-pharyngoplasty (UPPP) or laser assisted uvulo-palato-plasty. Dr. Jenkins specializes in a specific type of surgical correction of OSA called maxillo-mandibular advancement, or corrective jaw surgery. In this procedure the bones of the upper and lower jaw are repositioned to increase the size of the airway. This procedure has been found to be one of the most successful surgical treatments for OSA.
OSA is a very serious medical condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.