Sleep apnoea treatment

What is Sleep Apnoea?

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep, leading to a feeling of exhaustion during the day. It occurs due to the relaxing of the muscles and soft tissue in the throat, restricting oxygen supply and causing the person to come out of deep sleep and enter lighter sleep, or even briefly wake up. This lack of deep sleep will leave OSA sufferers feeling very tired during the day, even though they may have no memory of their interrupted sleep.

What does treatment involve?

Apparatus that assists breathing while asleep, called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is usually the first option in treating OSA. If this proves unsuccessful there are a number of surgical treatments available, which differ depending on the cause of the blocked airway. If the tonsils are blocking the airway, a Tonsillectomy to remove them will allow free breathing. If soft tissue in the throat is preventing normal breathing an Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) can remove it to widen the airway.

When will I recover?

Patients will have a severe sore throat for around a week after the procedure and discomfort may last for 2-3 weeks. Most patients stay overnight after the procedure and take a weeks rest upon returning home.

What risks should I know about?

Due to the creation of scar tissue in the throat, UPPP has been known to lead in some cases to the undesired narrowing of the airway in the nose and throat, worsening the sleep apnoea. Patients may also experience difficulty swallowing for some time after the procedure.