New jaw surgery may help treat sleep apnea

Credit: Jamie Street / Unsplash.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which the airway is blocked during sleep.

If left untreated, patients with OSA may experience reduced quality of life and health problems in more serious cases.

In a study from the University of Hong Kong, scientists found a new jaw surgery may help treat moderate to severe OSA.

Jaw advancement surgery is an effective treatment for OSA. However, it may change the facial appearance and the “bite,” especially among Eastern Asians who usually have more protrusive lips than Caucasians.

This makes it harder to perform jaw advancement surgery without compromising on facial aesthetics.

In the study, the team examined if a newly conceptualized jaw surgery technique could help improve moderate to severe OSA.

Twelve patients in Hong Kong with moderate-to-severe OSA were included in this study.

The researchers found all the patients involved in the study with moderate-to-severe OSA showed a 50% or more reduction in breathing disturbances at night after the surgery, and 58% of the patients were considered to be cured, showing no signs of sleep apnea.

The findings showed that this surgery can strongly reduce sleep apnea, and also maintain or even improve the patient’s appearance.

The jaw surgery technique involves a multi-segment osteotomy (cutting and reshaping bones) of the lower jaw called segmental mandibular advancement (SMA).

It is a combination of a procedure to upright the anterior jaw segment to create space and a procedure to advance the whole lower jaw.

The surgery is done to bring about significant enlargement of the skeletal airway at the base of the tongue, as well as an appealing aesthetic of the face and functional outcome in the bite.

There was no incidence of any major complications in the surgery in the study, thus showing that the new surgery is potentially a safe and effective procedure for patients with severe OSA.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about a promising drug for sleep apnea, and common painkillers that may harm sleep.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies about exercise that can help you sleep better, and results showing 7 hours of sleep is best for people in middle and old age.

The study was conducted by Dr. Mike YY Leung et al and published in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

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