Surgical Management of Sleep Apnea

ENTs like to do surgery to help eliminate OSA.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

Is the most common performed surgery of OSA. The most common form of upper airway surgery, UPPP describes the enlargement of the airway through reductions of the tissue (usually parts of the soft palate and the uvula, and sometimes including the tonsils).

Research by Becker and Levin in 1994 showed that Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty surgery had up to an 80% initial success rate. Unfortunately, the success decreased to 46% at 12 months.

Pillar Procedure

Small woven inserts are implanted in the soft palate at the back of the throat under local anesthetic; these help to stiffen the soft palate, decrease tissue vibration and stabilize the airway.


This procedure is also known as temperature-controlled radio frequency, in which radio waves are targeted toward specific areas of extraneous tissue in the upper airway in order to remove them. The technology is precise and minimally invasive.


Sometimes, the regular airway obstruction can be blamed on overlarge adenoids (tonsils); surgical removal of these can provide considerable relief for those with severe OSA.

Nasal surgery

Often the key problem with OSA can be caused by dysfunctional tissues and processes in the nose and sinus regions. Deviated septums, swollen turbinates, collapsed nasal valves can contribute to breathing problems; for those with severe OSA, surgery is often performed in addition to the use of CPAP therapy to help the patient with comfort issues.

Maxillomandibular advancement surgery

Parts of the jawbone are repositioned during this surgical procedure to enlarge the space at the back of the throat to prevent obstructive events from occurring.

Postsurgical Sleep Apnea Complications

  • Speech or voice changes, difficulty swallowing and airway narrowing
  • Infection, hemorrhage, nerve palsies, emergency surgical treatments, cardiovascular events, respiratory failure, rehospitalization and death.
  • Long term adverse events

diabetes and sleep apnea