May 16, 2008

Base of Tongue Coblation for Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Fauquier ENT is offering a relatively new procedure called base of tongue reduction (as well as lingual tonsillectomy) using coblation for patients suffering from severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) due to an enlarged base of tongue. For many patients, an enlarged base of tongue is a significant contributing factor leading to severe sleep apnea. This area contributes to obstruction by falling backwards against the back wall of the throat during sleep leading to airway closure.

Although a number of procedures have been offered to minimize this problem in the past such as:

• hyoid advancement
• genioglossal advancement
• repose procedure
• mandibular advancement

None of these procedures directly addresses the tongue bulk/size itself. Rather, these procedures indirectly attempts to address the base of tongue by moving and anchoring the entire tongue forward. As such, these procedures only marginally improves OSA and usually only lasts for a temporary period of time.

Other traditional OSA surgeries such as:

UPPP (uvulo-palato-pharyngoplasty)
turbinate reduction

These address obstructions only at the nasal and oral cavity level of the airway. Base of tongue is BELOW these levels and located immediately above the voicebox (where air enters the windpipe to get to your lungs). As such, many patients who have undergone these surgeries often find themselves still suffering from OSA. Furthermore, enlarged base of tongue is the main cause of OSA in skinny people.

Click here to read more about base of tongue reduction/lingual tonsillectomy offered only at Fauquier ENT of Northern Virginia.

Non-surgical methods to resolve obstructive sleep apnea due to large base of tongue:

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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