In sleep apnea, airway obstruction can occur at different levels. The space behind the base of the tongue (oropharynx) is frequently involved. However, the space behind the soft palate (velopharynx) and the throat (hypopharynx) are often involved too. Orthognathic surgery by maxillary advancement will space out and increase the volume of these three areas. This intervention allows the advancement of the soft palate, the base of the tongue and the suprahyoid muscles without affecting them directly since it is jaws, to which theses structures are attached, that are moved.
The scientific journal SLEEP has recently published a literature review in which they analyzed nine studies on maxillary advancement surgery. These studies included a total of 234 patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea. After orthognathic surgery, they observed a 87% reduction of the overall AHI. This reduction allowed 232 of the 234 patients to completely correct their sleep apnea or at least lower it to a moderate level which, in both cases, symptoms were alleviated and CPAP wear was no longer required.
These results are not exclusive to this review. Several other recent studies have shown excellent success rates with this type of treatment. This suggests that orthognathic surgery is usually very effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea.
To find out if you are a good candidate for orthognathic surgery, please consult one of our professionals who can make an accurate assessment of your case.