Millions of people worldwide suffer from the common sleep disease known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It is caused by the obstruction or narrowing of the upper airway, which results in snoring and irregular breathing while you sleep.
OSA can harm health, including a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Orthognathic surgery, which corrects jaw and faces bone irregularities, is one option for treating OSA. This article will discuss how orthognathic surgery can treat sleep apnea.
What Is Orthognathic Surgery?
A form of surgery known as orthognathic surgery is used to treat anomalies in the jaw and face bones.
Usually, it’s done to fix a bad bite or to make the face look better. The lower jaw (mandible), the upper jaw (maxilla), or both can be operated on. To guarantee that the teeth are in the right place after surgery, orthognathic surgery is frequently performed with orthodontic therapy.
How Can Orthognathic Surgery Treat Sleep Apnea?
Orthognathic surgery can alleviate sleep apnea by treating the underlying structural anomalies that produce the disorder. A deviated septum, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, anomalies in the jaw and facial bones, and others frequently contribute to OSA. These anomalies can be fixed with orthognathic surgery, allowing for better ventilation while you sleep.
Here are the different ways orthognathic surgery can help treat sleep apnea:
1. Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)
Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) is an orthognathic surgery involving moving the upper and lower jaws forward. This increases the size of the airway and reduces the likelihood of obstruction during sleep. MMA is typically reserved for patients with severe OSA who have not responded to other treatments.
2. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a procedure that involves removing excess tissue from the soft palate, uvula, and pharynx. This can help to reduce snoring and improve airflow during sleep. UPPP is often done with other procedures, such as GA or MMA.
3. Genioglossus Advancement (GA)
Genioglossus advancement (GA) is a procedure that involves moving the muscle that controls the tongue forward. This helps to keep the tongue from blocking the airway during sleep. GA is typically done with other procedures, such as MMA or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP).
4. Mandibular Osteotomy (MO)
Mandibular Osteotomy (MO) is a procedure that involves moving the lower jaw forward. This can help increase the airway’s size and reduce the likelihood of obstruction during sleep. MO is typically reserved for patients with mild to moderate OSA who have not responded to other treatments.
The Benefits of Orthognathic Surgery for Sleep Apnea
Orthognathic surgery is a surgical procedure that corrects jaw abnormalities, including the position of the upper and lower jaws and the alignment of the teeth. While the primary purpose of orthognathic surgery is to improve facial aesthetics and correct functional issues, it can also significantly impact sleep apnea.
Improved Airway Patency
Orthognathic surgery can expand the airway by realigning the jaws, removing obstacles, and reducing the severity of sleep apnea. The technique can effectively address the anatomical causes of sleep apnea by enlarging the upper airway’s skeletal structure. To widen the airway and create more room in the back of the throat, the upper and lower jaws are moved forward during surgery—the number of apneic episodes while sleeping declines due to the expanded airway space.
Improved Sleep Quality
The natural sleep cycle is broken by sleep apnea, resulting in fragmented and restless sleep. Orthognathic surgery can enhance sleep quality by addressing the root problems, enabling patients to get more rejuvenating sleep. Patients will have more energy, a better mood, and better overall health if they get better-quality sleep.
Reduced Dependence on CPAP
Orthognathic surgery may provide a long-term remedy for sleep apnea, lowering or doing away with the requirement for CPAP therapy. Orthognathic surgery may be a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate CPAP or have poor adherence, offering long-lasting advantages.
Orthognathic surgery might be the only practical choice for those unable to adhere to the therapy schedule. Surgery can lessen the requirement for CPAP therapy, resulting in better general health and sleep.
Improved Breathing Function
Orthognathic surgery can enhance daytime and nighttime breathing efficiency. Breathing problems are frequently experienced by sleep apnea patients when exerting themselves through exercise or other physical activities. Orthognathic surgery can improve breathing function and enable patients to breathe more easily and comfortably by addressing the underlying causes of sleep apnea.
Enhanced Quality of Life
The quality of life of those who suffer from sleep apnea can be significantly impaired. It may result in decreased productivity, irritability, and daytime weariness. Orthognathic surgery can enhance patients’ quality of life by optimizing breathing function, promoting sleep quality, and reducing the severity of sleep apnea. The patient’s energy level, mood, and general health will all improve.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
An increased risk of cardiovascular illness, such as hypertension, stroke, and heart attack, is linked to sleep apnea. Orthognathic surgery can help lower the risk of these major health issues by enhancing sleep quality and reducing the severity of sleep apnea. According to studies, orthognathic surgery can help patients with sleep apnea better control their blood pressure, lowering their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Risks and Considerations
Orthognathic surgery has dangers, just like any surgical operation; thus, it must be carefully considered. Orthognathic surgery carries some risks, including the possibility of infection, bleeding, nerve injury, and relapse. Additionally, patients must be ready for a lengthy recovery period involving a liquid diet and several weeks of restricted activity.
Not all sleep apnea patients can benefit from orthodontic surgery. If a patient is a good candidate for the operation, they must go through a thorough evaluation by a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon and sleep medicine specialist.
Patients with sleep apnea who have not responded to previous therapies may benefit from orthodontic surgery. The operation can fix structural issues with the jaw and facial bones, resulting in better sleep, breathing and a lower chance of health issues