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Do you suffer from snoring or episodes of choking or breathlessness in the middle of night ? Do you feel excessively sleepy during the day at work or feel difficulty in keeping up while watching television?Do you experience excessive fatigue, anxiety or irratibility even after a good night sleep? If the answer to any of the above symptoms is yes , you could be suffering from sleep disordered breathing(SDB).

Sleep apnea is temporary cessation of breathing for more than 10 seconds during sleep.It can be due to an obstructive pathology in the airway which is known as Obstructive sleep apnea(OSA) or due to defect in sleep signalling pathways from central nervous system which is known as Central Sleep Apnea. Sometimes it can be due to a combination of both which is known as Complex Sleep Apnea.

OSA is the most common cause of sleep apnea and is a very common disorder affecting 2-5% of the population worldwide.It can affect any age group ranging from children to old age but is more common in age groups between 40 to 60 years of age.Obstruction at the level of nose, oral cavity or upper digestive tract upto food pipe and dental and facial bony abnormalities can lead to airway obstruction. The airway is held open during the waking hours due to underlying tone of the muscles hence patient does not experience significant obstruction during daytime.But at night due to muscle relaxation in deep sleep and pull of gravity ,the airway collapses and patient experiences episodes of fall in blood oxygen levels with cessation of breathing or apnea.

Risk factors for developing OSA:

  • Men >Women
  • Increasing age
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Post menopausal women
  • Hereditary
  • Smoking
  • Intake of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers

 

 

When should you see a doctor?

You may be suffering from OSA if you have one or more of the following warning symptoms:

  • Chronic Snoring(most common symptom)
  • Apneas or peroids of pauses in breathing
  • Sensation of choking / breathing difficulty or gasping during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness(Hypersomnia) and fatigue even after a good night sleep
  • Depression/Irratibility/Anxiety
  • Restless sleep/Frequent arousals(Insomia)
  • Going to bathroom frequently at night(Noctiuria)
  • Drooling
  • Dryness of mouth
  • Acid reflux
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Morning Headaches
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Learning and memory difficulties

A simple way for you to assess whether you have OSA or not is by answering the Epworth Sleepiness Scale(ESS).It is a questionnaire with 8 questions and you have to rate on a scale of 0-3( 0 = would never doze 1 = slight chance of dozing 2 = moderate chance of dozing 3 = high chance of dozing). The ESS score can range from 0 to 24.

 Situation                                                Score(0-3)

  1. Chance of Dozing
  2. Sitting and reading watching TV
  3. Sitting, inactive in a public place (e.g. a theatre or a meeting)
  4. As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break
  5. Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit
  6. Sitting and talking to someone
  7. Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol
  8. In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in the traffic

The ESS score is interpreted as

0-5 Lower Normal Daytime Sleepiness

6-10 Higher Normal Daytime Sleepiness

11-12 Mild Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

13-15 Moderate Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

16-24 Severe Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

 

Usually a score between 11-24 warrants medical attention.

 

Why OSA should be treated?

Obstructive sleep apnea if untreated can lead to various long term sequelae and serious complications such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Automobile accidents
  • Coronary artery disease

 

How is OSA diagnosed?

In addition to the symptoms, important clinical signs to diagnose OSA include Hypertension, high Body Mass Index(BMI) indicating obesity and increased neck circumference.

While several investigations like Videoendoscopy, CT scan and MRI scan may be done to assess the obstructive pathology in OSA, Polysomnography is the gold standard investigation to diagnose OSA. Polysomnography or commonly called as sleep study is a test used to diagnose sleep disorders. It records important physiological parameters and body functions such as heart rate, oxygen saturation, eye movements,brain waves, chest movements, electrical activity of muscles and body positioning while the patient sleeps.This test can be done overnight at a specialized centre or even at the patient’s home. It assesses the periods of breathing cessation and periods of decreased oxygen flow to lungs and thus classifies whether patient has mild,moderate or severe OSA.

Another modality which has gained importance in recent times is Sleep Endoscopy. In this procedure the patient is taken in an operating room and under sedation by a short acting anaesthetic agent the patient is examined with endoscope to locate the exact anatomic site of snoring.

 

Is OSA treatable?

OSA can be treated by a number of modalities which include behavioral modifications, devices that can be worn and surgical options.

  1. Behavioral modifications: These can be useful in treatment of mild cases of OSA
  • Sleep position therapy(patient sleeps on side or stomach instead of back)
  • Weight loss where appropriate,
  • Avoidance of sedatives, alcohol, or large meals before bedtime

 

  1. Devices that can be worn : Two types of devices are available
  • Continuous positive airway pressure devices also known as CPAP : These are one of the most effective treatment options for moderate to severe OSA.This device is worn as a splint or mask over nose and it delivers air at a positive pressure hence it is able to overcome the obstruction in the airway.
  • Oral appliances: These include mandibular repositioning devices which advance the jaw bone forward and help in bringing forward the tongue and other muscles surrounding upper airway pathway.These are useful in cases of mild OSA.

 

  1. Surgical Treatments: Surgery for OSA is usually reserved for cases who do not improve on CPAP or those cannot tolerate CPAP. Assessment of each patient has to be done individually to assess the site and level of obstruction. Various surgeries done in cases of OSA are:
  • Procedures to improve compliance to CPAP in cases of obvious nasal or oral obstruction like removal of adenoids and tonsils or correction of a deviated nasal septum.
  • Surgeries such as tracheostomy may be done to bypass the upper airway temporarily in cases of morbidly obese patients.Bariatric surgery may be also offered in such patients.
  • Upper airway surgeries: When there is obstruction at the oral or pharyngeal level like palate,uvula,generalised contriction of the muscled of digestive tract, surgery may be done at one or more levels to create a wider space for breathing. Various surgeries done are

 

A).Uvuloplalatopharyngoplasty(surgery of palate and pharyngeal wall) is done to create more space behind the oral behind by repositioning of the tissues .

B).Mandibular osteatomy(surgery of the jaw bone) with tongue base advancement where the jaw bone is brought forward from the rest of facial structure to create a  wider space behind the tongue

C).Maxillo-mandibular osteotomy(surgery of jaw bone and cheek bone) in severe or refractory cases.


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Sleep apnea is temporary cessation of breathing for more than 10 seconds during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea(OSA) is the most common cause of sleep apnea and is a very common disorder affecting 2-5% of the population worldwide. It can affect any age group ranging from children to old age but is more common in age groups between 40 to 60 years of age. Obstruction at the level of nose, oral cavity or upper digestive tract upto food pipe and dental and facial bony abnormalities can lead to airway obstruction. The airway is held open during the waking hours due to underlying tone of the muscles hence patient does not experience significant obstruction during daytime. But at night due to muscle relaxation in deep sleep and pull of gravity, the airway collapses and patient experiences episodes of fall in blood oxygen levels with cessation of breathing or apnea.

Polysomnography is the gold standard investigation to diagnose OSA. Polysomnography or commonly called as sleep study is a test used to diagnose sleep disorders. It assesses the periods of breathing cessation and periods of decreased oxygen flow to lungs and thus classifies whether patient has mild, moderate or severe OSA. The most common non invasive treatment modality for moderate to severe OSA is continuous positive airway pressure devices also known as CPAP.This device is worn as a splint or mask over nose and it delivers air at a positive pressure hence, it is able to overcome the obstruction in the airway. Patients who do not improve with lifestyle modifications, CPAP or mandibular devices may benefit from surgery to relieve the site of obstruction. To assess  the anatomic site of obstruction in OSA, drug induced sleep endoscopy(DISE) is done. DISE is an evaluation technique using fiberoptic endoscopy of nose and upper airway to examine the site of obstruction under sedation with sedative medications like propofol. It is designed to mimic the situation during natural sleep as closely as possible and hence ascertain what kind of surgery will benefit the patient for OSA.

 

 

 

  1. a) NASAL SURGERY

Nasal surgery is usually done in patient with simple snoring who have impaired nasal breathing and may be done in addition to other surgeries for OSA in patients with obvious nasal pathologies. It has a lot of positive effects on sleep quality, recovery during sleep, and daytime symptoms in patients with nasal pathologies and also improves efficacy of CPAP.

  1. Surgeries for the turbinates

Turbinates are bony structures in the nose covered with mucosa which help to humidfy the air inside the nose. Submucosal radiofrequency-induced thermotherapy (RFITT) is a treatment that can be used to improve nasal passage by using an electric probe to reduce the turbinate size.

More invasive surgery for the turbinates is called turbinoplasty in which the turbinates are trimmed to reduce them in size.

  1. Surgery for the septum

Septum is the central bone in the nose which may be bent or deviated . This can cause nasal blockage in one or both nostrils. Septoplasty is a surgery which is done to correct this deviated bone.

3.Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

In patients with severe nasal obstruction with nasal polyps, patient may benefit with removal of the polyps  and widening the opening of sinuses with endoscope assisted sinus surgery.

 

B) MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY

 

  1. Interstitial Radiofrequency in the Soft Palate, tongue base and tonsils

In patients with simple snoring, radiofrequency waves may be used to shrink the size of tissues .This helps to tighten the tissues and reduce their volume and hence may reduce snoring. This can be done as a day care procedure and under local anaesthesia as well.

 

  1. Palatal implants and Injection Snoreplasty

Injection with certain drugs can be given in the palate which causes a chemical reaction leading to fibrosis and tightening of the palate. This procedure is called injection snoreplasty. Palatal implant ( also called as the Pillar procedure) requires the insertion of three small fibrous polyester rods which cause fibrous reaction inside the tissue upon insertion. These procedures can give benefits in mild OSA and can be done in OPD as well under local anaesthesia.

 

C) UVULOPLATOPLASTY(UPP)

In patients with mild snoring at the level of uvula and soft palate only, uvulopalatoplasty with laser(laser-assisted uvulopharyngoplasty, or LAUP) or radiofrequency(Radiofrequency assisted uvulopharyngoplasty or RAUP) can be done to create wider space at the back of the throat by trimming the size of uvula and shortening the soft palate.

 

D) UVULOPALATOPHARYNGOPLASTY(UPPP)

This is one of the most common surgeries done in patients with OSA. The aim of this surgery is to increase the airway space behind the palate and reduce the collapse of the tissue behind the tongue by reducing the excess tissue over uvula and soft palate, shortening the soft palate with sutures to  keep it open and removal of tonsils if present. This surgery targets the area behind the tongue base which is called oropharynx. This is the most common site of obstruction in patients of sleep apnea  and hence a lot of patients show improvement with this procedure.

 

E)TONSILLECTOMY AND TONSILLOTOMY

Tonsillectomy is the complete removal of tonsils while tonsillotomy is partial removal of the tissue of tonsils. In children with OSA, tonsillectomy along with the removal of adenoids is done to improve the airway space. In adults, tonsillectomy is usually not done as the sole procedure and is usually done with UPPP or other procedures to improve overall space and hence the success of palatal procedures.

 

F) TONGUE SUSPENSIONS AND IMPLANTS

For patients with bulky tongue base causing visible obstruction and without typical findings at the soft palate, tongue base surgery maybe beneficial. In the tongue suspension systems, a non resorbable loop is passed through the tongue base and the loop is tightened to bring the tongue base forward.

 

G) LINGUAL TONSILLECTOMY

The lingual tonsils are lymphoid tissue that is located at the back of the tongue  base. They may be removed if sleep endoscopy shows them to be obstructing the breathing space. This surgery can be done with laser or coblator.

 

H) HYOID BONE SURGERIES

The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone in the neck. The tongue and other structures of the throat are attached to it. Hyoid suspension involves pulling the hyoid bone forward and securing it in place with sutures to open up the lower airway space.

 

I) GENIOGLOSSAL ADVANCEMENT

Genioglossus is one of the muscles which holds the tongue in its place. In this surgery, a bony window is created in the front of jaw bone to reach to this muscle and the muscle with its attachment to the jaw bone is moved forward in comparison to rest of the jaw bone. This brings the tongue base forward and hence prevents the fall back during sleep.

 

J) HYPOGLOSSAL NERVE STIMULATION

Hypoglossal nerve innervates the muscles of tongue. In this surgery, a stimulating electrode device is attached to this nerve and programmed with external device to stimulate the nerve at night during sleep. This prevents the fall back of tongue and hence collapse of airway.

 

K) TONGUE BASE SURGERIES AND MIDLINE GLOSSECTOMY

These surgeries are done to reduce the volume of tongue base in patients with bulky tongue and hence improve the airway space.

 

L) TRACHEOSTOMY

Permanent tracheostomy is used in extreme life threatening situation in patients with OSA  when oxygen saturation is very low and patient is not able to breathe due to collapse of airway. This may be done as an elective procedure in patients who are not able to tolerate CPAP or are not suitable candidates for surgery or as an emergency procedure. In this procedure an opening is created in the windpipe from an incision in the neck below the level of voice box to bypass the upper airway which is usually the cause of obstruction in OSA. Individuals with a tracheostomy for OSA plug the opening during the day, allowing them to speak normally, but remove the plug for sleep.

 

M) MAXILLOMANDIBULAR ADVANCEMENT SURGERY

This surgery is beneficial to patients who have abnormalities of the maxillofacial skeleton. A small, narrow jaw can result in narrow airway space which can lead to obstruction during sleep. Maxillomandibular advancement involves the fracture of both upper and lower jaw bones and advancing them forward. These are then fixed with plates and screws and hence this leads to expansion of space in  the upper airway. The procedure is dificult and requires expertise but may have good results in carefully selected patients.

 

N) PARTIAL EPIGLOTTIDECTOMY AND EPIGLOTTOPEXY

Epiglottis is a tongue shaped structure which protects the opening of voice box. If the sleep endoscopy shows collapse of this structure during breathing then partial removal of epiglottis can be done to increase airway space. This procedure is usually performed with laser.

 

O) BARIATRIC SURGERY

This is often used as the last resort in patients with severe OSA who do not improve with any of the above treatment options. Many types of surgeries are done with the most common being gastric bypass.

 

CONCLUSION

The surgery for Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) needs to be assessed for each patient separately and there is no one answer that fits all. In addition to detailed history, clinical examination and radiological investigations, drug induced sleep endoscopy (DISE) remains an important guide to the surgeon to assess the exact site of snoring and airway collapse and hence decide the surgery required. UPPP remains the most common surgery performed for OSA although other surgeries may be done in conjugation with UPPP as well or separately depending upon site of obstruction.


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Economical Center in your neighborhood:

Gurgaon ENT Centre focus is to provide affordable ENT services with compassionate patient care. We provide best of the healthcare services with the team of expert doctors and state-of-the-art medical equipment. The clinic is backed by complete range of diagnostic facilities. The idea behind Gurgaon ENT Clinic is to provide a comfortable environment and all services under one roof to the patients.


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At Gurgaon ENT Clinic we have team of expertise to take care of all your ENT related problems. We have a team of expertise with state-of-the-art technology which helps the patient to get best solution for their hearing disability. Dr. Ravinder Gera has expertise of more than 20 years in the field of ENT. He is a Gold medalist & attended more than 40 National & International workshops on Cochlear Implant. He is associated with Max Hospital as Head of the ENT Department.


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Dr. Ravinder Gera is an ENT Surgeon specializing in Cochlear Implant Surgery and Microscopic Ear Surgeries. He operates all kinds of Head & Neck cancers. Dr. Ravinder Gera is a renowed ENT Specialist in Gurgaon who is expert in handle all the complex ENT surgeries. He is the best ENT Doctor in Gurgaon and a specialist in cochlear implant surgery.
Dr. Ravinder Gera did his M.B.B.S. from Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi ; M. S. (ENT) from Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi and D.N.B. from Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi. He is having expertise in ENT for more than 20 years with specialty interest in Cochlear Implant, Head and Neck Surgery, MicroEar, Sinus & Thyroid Surgery.

Dr. Ravinder Gera is an active member of Association Of Otolaryngologists, India; Association Of Otolaryngologists, New Delhi ; Association Of Otolaryngologists, Haryana and Indian Medical Association, Gurgaon. Dr. Ravinder Gera won many awards & accomplishments in this field.

– Awarded as Gold Medalist for two consecutive years in M.B.B.S.

– Awarded as the best Sr. Resident at Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi

– Special training in Cochlear Implant from Mumbai

– Attended more than 40 National & International workshops on Endoscopic Sinus & Micro Ear Surgery

– Five Papers presented in Index International Journal

OPD Schedule:

Dr. Ravinder Gera is doing his OPD in Gurgaon ENT Clinic, The Clinix and at Max Hospital, Gurgaon. To book his appointment you can call +91-9810340495.

Gurgaon ENT Clinic:

– Address: 112, Apna Bazar, Gurudwara Road, Gurgaon

-Monday to Saturday – 10:30AM to 1:30PM & 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

The Clinix:

-Address: 440, Sector-31, Gurgaon

-Monday to Saturday – 02:30 PM to 5:00PM

Max Hospital, Gurgaon:

-Address: B-Block, Sushant Lok, Gurgaon

-Monday to Saturday – 08:30AM to 10:00AM

-Thursday – 6:00PM – 8:00PM

Write to us at contact@gurgaonentclinic.com to take second opinion from Dr. Ravinder Gera.




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