How Rhinoplasty May Improve Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Not all rhinoplasty involves cosmetic surgery. Functional rhinoplasty can correct nasal disorders or problems contributing to sleep apnea, a potentially serious issue. Los Angeles board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ashkan Ghavami of Ghavami Plastic Surgery explains how rhinoplasty can improve sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly. While there are several types of sleep apnea, the most common is the obstructive form. The throat muscles relax, resulting in airway blockage and excessive snoring. Functional rhinoplasty is an effective treatment for this type of sleep apnea, but not for its central form. The central form of sleep apnea involves respiratory drive issues.
While anyone may develop sleep apnea, it occurs most frequently in overweight, middle-aged patients. Most people diagnosed with sleep apnea are treated with a Continuous Positive Airway (CPAP) device, worn while sleeping. The CPAP does not work for everyone.
For those patients whose sleep apnea is caused by nasal obstruction, rhinoplasty may aid in breathing.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Loud snoring is the most common sleep apnea symptom. Individuals cannot tell when they stop breathing or start gasping for air while sleeping, but a spouse or partner is likely to notice. Other potential sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Headache upon waking
- Morning dry mouth
- Regular sinus infections
- Difficulty staying awake during the day
Septoplasty and Sleep Apnea
Septoplasty is the term for functional rhinoplasty used for sleep apnea treatment. This operation changes the nasal septum’s position. The septum separates the right and left sides of the nasal cavity. It consists of tissue and bone.
If the septum is deviated, or off-center, breathing issues may ensue. A deviated septum may contribute to sleep apnea. A septoplasty puts the septum in the correct place.
Turbinates are the areas of tissue flaring out at the bottom of the nostrils. Enlarged turbinates can interfere with airflow and trigger sleep apnea. A septoplasty can be combined with turbinoplasty to reduce the turbinates’ size.
While functional rhinoplasty is a medical rather than cosmetic procedure, patients whose septums are deviated due to trauma, or who just do not like their nose’s appearance, can have cosmetic corrections made during the procedure.
How Rhinoplasty Helps Sleep Apnea
Rhinoplasty cannot cure sleep apnea. However, the procedure can reduce its severity. For many patients, functional rhinoplasty offers more relief than a CPAP could.
Expect a recovery period of a few weeks. After healing, you should find your sleep apnea symptoms reduced significantly.
If you or a loved one are suffering from sleep apnea and would like more information about how rhinoplasty may offer relief, contact renowned Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Ashkan Ghavami and schedule a personal consultation. After an examination, he will determine whether you are a good candidate for functional rhinoplasty.