Dr John Fisher, Maxillofacial & Oral Surgeon

Surgical treatment of sleep apnoea by maxillo-mandibular advancement

What is sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is a medical condition that causes difficulty in breathing during sleep. During the sleep cycle, sleep is interrupted by regular breaks in breathing known as apneic events.

What types of sleep apnoea are there?

There are several types of sleep apnoea including:

  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Central sleep apnoea
  • Complex sleep apnoea

What are the symptoms of the condition?

Symptoms of sleep apnoea include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Waking up often throughout the night
  • Concentration and memory problems

What are the dangers of sleep apnoea?

There are some severe health conditions that can occur as a result of sleep apnoea, including increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and obesity. If you find that you are unable to stop snoring, you may have sleep apnoea.

How can it be treated?

Although there are a number of ways to treat the condition, in some cases it is necessary to undergo surgery. Maxillo-mandibular advancement is a procedure that involves moving the upper and lower jaws forward. In doing so, the airway is made larger near the tongue and palate, making it considerably easier for the patient to breathe.

How does the surgery work?

Your surgeon will make an incision on the inside of the mouth, and reposition the jaws. The jawbones will then be secured in place with screws and plates. Braces may also need to be placed on the teeth. It is important to remember that it takes time to recover fully from this procedure. After the surgery you will be limited to soft foods for up to six weeks, and can expect some swelling. Your doctor may prescribe some pain medication, as well as decongestants, antibiotics and saline sprays. You will also be instructed to sleep with your head elevated for the first few days after surgery to help deal with pain and swelling