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Soft Palette Revision for Sleep Apnea

Apr 27, 2008
Soft palette revision is a type of surgical treatment that is sometimes used to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is very personal. Each person has several of their own factors that lead up to OSA. The reasons vary greatly, but there seems to be a cure for almost every cause.

People suffering from sleep apnea have many treatment options available which include invasive and non-invasive options. The challenge is finding the right treatment. Each one needs to address factors contributing to a person's individual disorder.

Soft palate surgeries are becoming very popular and can help tremendously. After healing from soft palate revisions targeting sleep apnea, external appliance use such as CPAP or mouth guards may be unnecessary for many people.

The soft palette contributes to OSA in numerous people. When a person breathes, the uvula and soft palate gently vibrate. In OSA, they do so to a much higher degree causing loud snoring.

Sometimes the reason for the snoring is because the soft palate is too big due to anatomy. Other times tissue becomes big from excessive vibrating which causes "trauma" and swelling.

When the soft palate is over sized, it can partially or completely block the airway. This results in OSA. The treatment options for this particular cause of OSA are often surgical in nature, the most popular being surgeries to reduce the size of the soft palette. Soft palate revisions for sleep apnea seem to have good outcomes when they are performed on patients that actually need it.

LAUP - Laser assisted Uvulopalatoplasty, removes extra tissue from the uvula and soft palate with a laser over the course of several appointments until snoring has been decreased or no more tissue can be removed. This can be done in most offices under a local anesthesia.

Somnoplasty has basically the same outcome, removal of extra tissue, as LAUP, but radio frequency reduction methods are used instead of lasers. The tissue is burned away, by high radio frequencies, then the body absorbs to dead tissue over time. This procedure can be done several times until the desired outcome has been achieved or no more tissue can be safely removed. Patients report this method is less painful than LAUP.

Other soft palate revisions used for sleep apnea are the palate stiffening procedures. Some of these surgeries involve creating scar tissue that will function as rigid splints. Another stiffening surgery uses implants to create firmness of the soft palate which should keep it from collapsing during sleep. The implants are synthetic fibers that are placed midline to, and parallel to the midline of, the soft palate.

Three implant are inserted with a hollow needle under a local anesthesia. They can be removed with relative ease if necessary.

Soft palate revisions used for treatment of sleep apnea are minor surgeries and are mostly effective. In cases where they haven't been successful in alleviating sleep apnea symptoms, it has been either because there have been other causes along with the oversized soft palate or the soft palate hasn't been the reason for the obstruction.

The importance of a good investigative doctor well experienced in sleep apnea cannot be stressed enough when considering body altering surgeries involving the mouth and airway.
About the Author
If you or a loved one suffer from the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you'll find important information about the causes and treatment options, including soft palette revision for sleep apnea, at http://www.SleepApneaOSA.com
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