When is surgery indicated for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Feb 25, 2021
  • Author: Charles E Morgan, DMD, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Surgical management of snoring and OSA is indicated when a surgically correctable abnormality is believed to be the source of the problem and the patient has tried continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) without success. In addition, many patients opt for surgical treatment after noninvasive forms of treatment have proven ineffective or difficult to tolerate.

Surgical alteration of the upper airway usually involves 1 or more structures, such as the nasal septum, inferior nasal turbinates, adenoids, tonsils, anterior and posterior tonsillar pillars, uvula, soft palate, and base of the tongue. Craniofacial abnormalities, whether acquired or congenital, may also be amenable to surgical correction. In unusual cases, obstruction may occur at the level of the larynx (eg, tumor, laryngomalacia).

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