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Snoring is caused by the vibration of collapsed throat tissue. A common site is the soft palate around the tonsils. 50% of all men and about 30% of all females in the United States snore. There is even some evidence that snoring alone may negatively impact health. Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, not all OSA patients snore. Approximately 20 million Americans suffer from OSA but it is expected that the number of undiagnosed OSA patients is likely much higher.  

During OSA, the throat tissue collapses while a patient is sleeping, which may occur once every minute in severe cases, and results in repeated sleep interruptions. Since the body and brain never reaches a normal deep sleep stage, it becomes sleep deprived and impairs brain functions such as memory and decision-making. Many patients may associate morning fatigue with OSA, but in reality, symptoms can vary which may contribute to the misperception that they may not have OSA.  

Many but not all patients with OSA may suffer from any of the following symptoms:

  • Snoring
  • Nocturnal choking and gasping for air
  • Fatigue/ frequent napping
  • (Morning) headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety and depression

How is OSA Diagnosed?

A sleep study (which can be done at home or in the lab) will help diagnose patients with OSA. However, it should be noted that home sleep studies are typically less accurate than sleep studies done in the lab. There are other sleep-tracking devices available (e.g., smartwatches) that are not reliable in diagnosing or ruling out OSA.  

Early recognition and treatment of sleep apnea are important 

Patients with untreated OSA may not only feel tired and fatigued but more importantly, may risk significant complications as a result of upper airway obstruction resulting in sometimes dangerously low blood oxygen levels overnight. 

Untreated OSA is known to lead to the following complications:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia)
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of car accidents
  • Increased risk of early death (up to 15 years sooner)

Treatment of Snoring and OSA 

SURGICAL TREATMENT FOR SNORING
Snoring is caused by throat tissue vibration. Opening the nasal passage or correcting a deviated septum, and removing excess tissue such as adenoids or tonsils can often help improve snoring.  In some cases, shortening (palatoplasty) or stiffening (radiofrequency therapy) of the soft palate must be considered to improve snoring.

NON-SURGICAL TREATMENT FOR OSA
CPAP and BiPAP - This is the most common treatment for OSA and consists of either continuous or bi-level positive pressure (CPAP/ BiPAP), which is delivered via face or nasal mask to stent the upper airway passage open while asleep.  If used as instructed, this therapy is very effective. However, around 50% of OSA patients have trouble using this therapy due to mask-related discomfort or other issues.

Oral Appliance - For patients with mild or moderate OSA, an oral appliance can be an effective therapy option. This custom-made appliance stabilizes the lower jaw in a more forward position, which moves the tongue and the attached soft tissue out of the way so that patients can breathe better at night.

Adjunct Therapy - Other treatment alternatives in the management of OSA include weight loss, positional therapy with special pillows, and body positional devices, which can sometimes lead to significant improvement of OSA. Other lifestyle changes include smoking cessation, alcohol avoidance, and sleep hygiene.  Correction of nasal obstruction (e.g., decongesting sprays, breath-rite strips, nasal surgery) can sometimes help with CPAP compliance.

SURGICAL TREATMENT FOR OSA
Over 50% of patients are not able to tolerate or adhere to CPAP and are at risk to develop other medical conditions.  The success of sleep surgery largely depends on the correct identification of anatomical structures responsible for OSA. In some cases, more than one area of collapse can be found, which may include soft palate, tonsils, or base of tongue.

Patients who cannot tolerate CPAP should not give up. There are many other options available and it is crucial to consult with an experienced upper airway surgeon, such as Dr. Weidenbecher, who will develop a tailored treatment plan for patients. The end goal is always significant improvement of the OSA with patients experiencing restful sleep. In some cases, this means that more than one surgery might be needed to get there, or surgery might be combined with some other non-surgical treatment modalities.

Dr. Weidenbecher has shown to have high success rates in helping patients improve their OSA and he is able to offer sleep surgery to approximately 90% of patients looking for alternative OSA treatment options.

WHAT OUR PATIENTS SAY

Such a good Dr. He finds the problem and gives details on correcting the problem and suggests the routine to get rid of the problem. He will not recommend a surgeon if you don’t need it.

Call the best.  He tweaked my vocal cords and my voice is now exactly where I want it.

Dr. Mark is the best.

He has taken the time to diagnose and understand my husband's health problem. We are grateful for his help.

He is very compassionate, caring, and thorough.

Very knowledgeable, very professional, and always asked if I had any questions. Willing to go the extra mile. I have been seeing him for 7 years and I would recommend him to anyone who needed an ENT.

Excellent Doctor

My doctor is very compassionate to all his patients. I witness this every time I come. I hear how he talks to his staff and interns. A Great mentor. I look for these things in knowing whose hands my care is in. Dr. Mark Shows empathy and he LISTENS, whereas some don't take the time to understand let alone touch the abnormal lumps and nodules, they rush you out to get a pay check. I look for these things. Dr. Mark is excellent in his profession and very knowledgeable in his practice. I trust his medical decisions, and plan of care for treatments. Thank you Dr. Mark Weidenbecher

Very caring Provider. He is the best sleep surgeon in Ohio.

I have had a good experience with Dr. Weidenbecher since he previously did surgery on me. He is very knowledgeable and I would recommend him.

Very knowledgeable Dr. Great with patients and knows his field well

Very nice experience. He answered questions and explained things. Set up a plan of care to address health issues and worked out perfect.

Dr. Weidenbecher was very professional. He explained everything thoroughly. I did not feel rushed with my appointment. I would recommend him to my family and friends.

Very helpful and easy to work with

He takes great care and concern for his patients. Very professional and has a great personality.

This provider is very sincere, dedicated & caring. He wants to help resolve whatever health issue you might have and listens well.

Thorough, compassionate.

He is very thorough. I trust him. I did my surgery and I was so happy with the results.

Dr. Weidenbecher is very thoughtful, informative, and personable

The physician personally called me to discuss the findings on my latest CT Scan and recommended holding off on surgery until further testing.

Always treats me with so much respect and is on time.

Just excellent. No other words.

Don’t look anywhere else. Highly skilled surgeon. I felt so comfortable.

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