If you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea, you’re not alone; millions of people live with this sleep condition. Sleep apnea interferes with your ability to get a good night’s sleep and to feel well-rested throughout the day, leading to more serious problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure.
What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can be caused by a variety of issues, one of which is a blocked airway. If the nasal septum, the bone and cartilage that divides the two nostrils in the nose, is bent it can block the flow of air. Also known as a deviated septum, this misalignment causes snoring and sleep apnea problems.
How is it treated?
Treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms and the root cause of the problem. Common treatments for snoring and sleep apnea include the following:
- Breathing Devices: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks are designed to help you breathe more easily by providing a continuous stream of air that helps to keep your airways open throughout the night. The CPAP mask covers your nose and mouth; as such, many patients find the mask uncomfortable and do not receive the relief that they seek.
- Surgery: If non-invasive treatment methods, like the CPAP mask, aren’t effective treatment options then surgical procedures should be considered. Septoplasty is a common procedure used to treat sleep apnea patients with a deviated septum.
How can a septoplasty help with sleep apnea casued by a deviated septum?
Your ENT doctor will use an endoscope, a thin, light instrument with a tiny camera on its end, to observe the shape of your septum and determine whether it may be contributing to your sleep apnea. If you have a deviated septum and sleep apnea, if your doctor believes that treating your deviated septum will relieve you of your snoring and sleep apnea symptoms, and if you have exhausted other treatment options, then he or she may recommend you as a candidate for the septoplasty procedure.
What happens during and after surgery?
The ENT surgeon gives local or general anesthesia to the patient for the duration of the 60 to 90-minute procedure. He or she accesses the nasal septum through the nostrils and makes an incision in the soft layer of tissue that lines the septum and nasal passages. The surgeon will shift the deviated septum back into its proper position and remove any other obstructions, such as bone or cartilage.
After surgery, packing materials or stitches are commonly used to control bleeding and maintain a straight septum. Once the effects of anesthesia have worn off, patients are able to go home. To ensure a quick recovery, patients should elevate their head while sleeping and avoid strenuous activity.
Results of a Septoplasty & Recovery
Your breathing will improve following the procedure and will continue to improve as your nose heals. Septoplasty can be very effective in treating sleep apnea. To learn more about treating snoring and sleep apnea conditions and to determine if you are a candidate for the septoplasty procedure, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified eos sleep specialists.