Surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a very common type of apnoea which is characterised by recurring pauses in breathing during sleep. Excessive day time somnolence, apnoea, restless sleep and snoring are common manifestations of sleep disordered breathing. For treating this condition many surgical and non-surgical interventions have come to light and have shown great results.

surgery for obstructive sleep apnoea


Repetitive snoring is an irritating sound that comes from the soft tissues of the upper airway during sleep. This is the most common symptom for OSA, a sleeping disorder where the airflow is repeatedly ceased or reduced. This disorder may vary in impact and is usually associated with other physiologic problems.

  • Morning headaches are a very common symptom along with altered behaviour and mood. Depression, cognitive, memory impairment and lethargy are also experienced by the patients.
  • Congestive heart failure and systematic and pulmonary hypertension are also symptoms of OSA.

Surgery for Treating OSA

Surgery in adults for treating OSA should only be the last option and it only recommended if you are not able to use an oral appliance or wear CPAP. Obstructive sleep apnoea is caused when the upper airway is obstructed. Surgery helps to open up the upper airway and is considered as one of the main options for treating OSA. This surgery helps in making it more stable so that it will not become narrow and obstruct during sleep. Usually the objective of this surgery is to reduce the symptoms of OSA and not cure it.

Another surgery that can be performed is on the nose. This is called a pre-phase surgery which helps oral appliances and other treatments to work properly. When surgical treatment is followed some conservative procedures are attempted first. Namely:


A patients who has a large uvula and has very few or no symptoms of apnoea can be greatly benefited from this procedure.  A local anaesthesia is given to the patient and uvulectomy is performed by using carbon dioxide or cautery laser. This procedure is beneficial for patients who have mild OSA and snore. Incising the inferior rim of the soft uvula and palate is done in this procedure without removing the tonsils.

Pillar System

This procedure involves the insertion of palatal implants. This is an invasive operation performed to cure people with mild to moderate OSA and snoring problems.

Palatal Surgery

This is the most common procedure followed for the treatment of OSA. This procedure has been preferred because of the success of UPPP. It involves removing a portion of the hard posterior palate and forward suspension of the soft palate.

Tests Recommended Before Surgery

 Before opting for a surgery adults require a full sleep study. This study is generally done before and after most surgeries. For the surgery of your nose you may be required to have skin or blood prick tests, nasal pressure measurements or CT scans.

Anaesthetics and surgeries always involve side effects and risk. But now the surgeries have modernised and the risk factor has been reduced remarkably, making these surgeries a lot safer.