Surgery is rarely used for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
When there is a problem with the nasal airway, such as deviated septum or nasal polyps, nasal surgery may be used to help the patient use CPAP better.
Surgery to the palate has been used with some success in the treatment of snoring, but has had less success in the treatment of sleep apnea.
In some very severe cases, when a patient has failed CPAP therapy and oral appliance therapy, a surgery called “bimaxillary advancement” is performed.
This surgery involves the surgical moving of the upper and lower jaw forward to create more room in the airway.
Although this may sound extreme, it is usually very effective.
This procedure is actually done routinely for cosmetic reasons and in those cases is referred to as “orthognathic surgery.”
The “last hope” surgical procedure is tracheostomy.
Tracheostomy bypasses the collapsible part of the airway by surgically placing a tube through the throat into the trachea.
With this surgery the sleep apnea is eliminated.
Obviously this surgery is reserved for the most extreme cases.