Huntsville Alabama Oral | Facial & Cosmetic Surgery's Blog

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious, and at times, life-threatening condition. Undiagnosed OSA presents various risks such as stroke, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, heart disease, high blood pressure, and reduced libido.

Moreover, OSA can lead to drowsiness in the daytime which can result in productivity loss, accidents, and relationship issues.  

According to estimates by the National Sleep Foundation, around 18 million adults have OSA. This condition also likely affects around 2 to 3 percent of children. Despite these staggering numbers, people with OSA may not realize that they have a problem.

If a person receives feedback from someone close to them that they snore loudly or wake up abruptly, gasping for air, they should consult an experienced Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS).

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Landon D. McLain provides treatments to patients in Huntsville, Madison, Florence, Decatur, Scottsboro, Cullman, Athens, Alabama, and surrounding communities.


What is OSA?

The upper airway can be blocked during sleep due to excess tissue, large tonsils, and/or a large tongue. The airway muscles (which relax and contract during sleep), nasal airways, and position of the jaw may also further aggravate the condition.

Breathing cessation, or “apnea,” occurs when these factors trigger impulses in the brain to wake the individual just enough to restart the process of breathing. Sleep apnea is often defined as the presence of over 30 apneas during the course of a seven-hour sleep.

Patients with severe apnea may experience periods of not breathing for as long as 60 to 90 seconds, and these may recur up to 500 times a night.



The OMS will recommend the most appropriate treatment for the patient depending on whether their OSA is mild, moderate or severe. Treatments range from behaviour modification to oral appliances to air pressure instruments.

While surgery may be an effective solution for some patients, it is vital to remember that no surgical treatment is universally successful. The nose and throat structure of every patient is different.

Therefore, the OMS will measure the airway at various points to check for any irregular air flow from the nose to lungs before recommending surgery.

An OMS has substantial experience and extensive training and skill to undertake the below mentioned surgical procedures:

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

This surgery involves shortening and stiffening the soft palate by partially eliminating the uvula and reducing the soft palate’s edge.

Hyoid Suspension

The hyoid bone lies above the level of the thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple). Hyoid Suspension involves securing the hyoid bone to the thyroid cartilage to stabilize this part of the airway.

Genioglossus Advancement (GGA)

GGA involves tightening the front portion of the tongue tendon to reduce the degree of tongue displacement into the throat. In general, this procedure is undertaken with at least one other surgical procedure such as hyoid suspension or UPPP.

Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)

In this procedure, the OMS surgically moves the upper and lower jaws forward along with the soft tissues of the palate and tongue, opening the upper airway. The MMA may be the only viable technique for some patients to develop the necessary air passageway successfully.

Anti-Snoring Devices

Various oral and nasal anti-snoring devices are available in the market today to help prevent patients from snoring. The treatment provider can recommend the most suitable devices for the patient depending on their condition. Devices such as nasal dilators, chin strips, nasal strips, and vestibular shields can help prevent snoring.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Landon D. McLain receives patients from Huntsville, Madison, Florence, Decatur, Scottsboro, Cullman, Athens, Alabama, and nearby areas.

McLain Surgical Arts is a leading cosmetic surgery practice headed by Dr. Landon D. McLain MD, DMD, FACS in Huntsville, AL. Dr. McLain is a double board certified cosmetic and oral & maxillofacial surgeon, offering a variety of procedures such as dental implants, wisdom teeth extraction, breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, tummy tuck, facelift, Botox, and laser skin resurfacing. For more information or to schedule a consultation call 256.429.3411 or click here.

Now taking patients from Huntsville, Scottsboro, Decatur, Madison, Athens, Florence, Cullman, AL and surrounding areas.

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