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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons play a very important role in the treatment of patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder which poses a significant health issue.

One to three percent of children and adolescents have obstructive sleep apnea, which is associated with health, learning, and behavior problems such as attention deficit and hyperactivity. It is present in 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women, and increases significantly in the older patient. Adults with obstructive sleep apnea have a very poor quality of sleep and as a result have problems with attention, concentration, manual dexterity, visual motor skills, memory, and executive function. These deficits can contribute to accidents in the workplace and motor vehicle accidents occur seven times more frequently than in the general population. Over the long-term, patients are predisposed to having high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression and diabetes.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the gold standard of treatment, however many patients cannot tolerate using the mask. Because the major contributor to the cause of obstructive sleep apnea is an underlying jaw abnormality that narrows or obstructs the patient’s airway, patients unable to use CPAP can have jaw advancement surgery to enlarge the airway and cure their apnea. This surgery has been shown to reduce snoring in 83% of patients, and eliminate the need for CPAP use in 96% of patients.

Maxillomandibular advancement surgery is the one procedure that can address abnormalities in all of the anatomic regions of the head and neck identified as possibly having a direct or indirect affect in causing obstructive sleep apnea. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have considerable experience and expertise in performing upper and lower jaw surgery to correct dental and facial deformities. Accurate diagnosis of abnormal anatomy that can be treated with one surgery (jaw advancement) should avoid multiple unnecessary procedures.