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Reconstructive procedures for disturbed functions within the upper airway: pharyngeal breathing/snoring

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Author(s): Verse, Thomas

Journal: GMS Current Topics in Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
ISSN 1865-1011

Volume: 4;
Start page: Doc08;
Date: 2005;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Breathing disorders which have their origin within the pharynx mainly occur during sleep. These so-called obstructive sleep-related breathing disorders include three different disturbances which have to be distinguished properly: simple snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Each disturbance requires a different treatment.Simple snoring does not affect the physical health of the snorer himself, but often leads to social problems due to the annoying character of the breathing sounds. Appropriate treatment modalities are oral devices and transcutaneous or ttransmucosal electrical stimulation of the muscles of the floor of the mouth via surface electrodes. As reconstructive surgical procedures adenotomies, tonsillectomies, tonsillotomies, or adenotonsillectomies are successfully used in children. Moreover, in adults radiofrequency treatments of the tonsils, the soft palate and of the base of tongue, as well as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) and palatal implants are adequate treatments for simple snoring.Adequate therapies for UARS and mild OSA (less than 20 breathing events per hour of sleep) are oral appliances. Nasal continuos positive airway pressure (NCPAP) ventilation is a very successful treatment modality, but shows low compliance in these patients, as daytime symptoms like excessive sleepiness or or impaired cognitive functions are often unincisive in patients with mild OSA. Reconstructive procedures like UPPP, radiofrequency surgery of the tonsils or the base of tongue, hyoid suspension, mandibular osteotomy with genioglossus advancement (MO) are successful treatment options either as isolated procedures or in combination within so-called multi-level surgery concepts. Goldstandard for the treatment of moderate to severe OSA is the nCPAP ventilation. All patients should at least try this treatment modality. Only in the rare cases of nCPAP failure (2%) and in the relatively frequent cases of nCPAP incompliance (30%) reconstructive surgical procedures become necessary as second choice treatments. These are adenectomies, tonsillectomies, tonsillotomies in children and hyoid suspension, MO, multi-level surgery concepts, or maxillomandibular advancement osteotomies in adults.
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