Yes, an ENT can help diagnose any possible obstructions in your airway.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder that can have major impacts on day-to-day life.
If left untreated, it can even have long-term health consequences.
Thankfully, there are options for treatments. One such treatment is an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist.
An ENT specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea through various techniques and therapies.
I’m Aaron, sleep disorder expert and we will discuss how can an ENT help with sleep apnea.
How Can an ENT Help With Sleep Apnea?
An ENT (ear, nose, throat doctor) can be a helpful resource when it comes to diagnosing and treating sleep apnea.
An ENT specializes in any kind of nose, sinus, tonsil, tongue, throat, or combination of all, and therefore can identify the exact cause for one’s sleep apnea, as well as provide effective solutions that target the underlying issue.
From behavioral changes like sleeping position adjustments to more serious treatments such as surgery or using a CPAP machine, an ENT has the expertise required to recommend an appropriate course of action tailored specifically for each patient.
ENT Surgical Treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
An ENT may not suggest surgery, but if they do, these are the types of surgery they can perform:
- Septoplasty – straightens cartilage and bone within the nostrils that could be causing the obstruction
- Turbinates – tissue in the nose that, if enlarged, can be reduced in size by using radio frequency
- Polyp Removal – polyps can possibly be in the sinuses that can be removed to remove the obstruction
- Somnoplasty – also a radio frequency surgery that will reduce the size of the uvula or soft palate
- Balloon Sinuplasty – if sinuses are the culprit of the obstruction, this can treat mild OSA
- Tonsils and Adenoids – although a common issue in babies, if tonsils and adenoids are the problem, and ENT can remove them.
Other Ways an ENT Can Help
If surgeries are not necessary, an ENT may suggest using CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) treatment or a pillar implant.
CPAP therapy is a form of treatment for sleep apnea and other breathing-related disorders.
It is used to help maintain a patient’s airways open during sleep, allowing them to breathe more easily and comfortably.
CPAP involves the use of a machine that provides pressurized air through a mask worn over the nose or face.
The pressurized air helps keep the patient’s airways open while they are sleeping, eliminating snoring and improving their overall quality of life.
CPAP therapy can be an effective treatment for many different kinds of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), mixed sleep apnea, as well as complex or mixed cases of OSA and CSA.
A pillar implant is a type of surgical procedure designed to help with snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea.
It is an outpatient procedure that involves the insertion of three or four small implants into the back of the throat, near the soft palate.
The implants are made out of bio-absorbable material and work by stiffening the soft palate.
This helps reduce vibration during breathing and therefore reduces snoring sounds.
The procedure can be done in less than 30 minutes under local anesthesia, with minimal discomfort for the patient afterwards.
It has been found to effectively decrease snoring in 83% of patients undergoing this treatment, making it one of the most popular solutions for those suffering from OSA or snoring.
In addition, pillar implants are permanent, require little maintenance and offer long-term relief from snoring symptoms.
Should I See an ENT for Sleep Apnea?
If you already have an ENT doctor, yes. If you do not, then your family doctor is who you should consult with first.
He/she can refer you if needed to an ENT specialist. Seeing an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist can be beneficial in determining if you have sleep apnea and what treatment would be best for you
Sleep apnea has many different causes, but often it is due to an obstruction of the upper airway.
An ENT doctor can determine if that is the cause of your sleep apnea by performing a physical examination of your nose, throat, and mouth as well as analyzing any imaging tests such as x-rays or CT scans.
It is important to take sleep apnea seriously and have it evaluated by an ENT.
An ENT can accurately assess your symptoms, diagnose the condition, and provide treatment options that work best for you.
It is also important to discuss any lifestyle changes that may be necessary to improve your overall health.
By combining lifestyle modifications with medical interventions, you can reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea and enjoy a better quality of life.