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What surgical procedures are used to treat sleep apnea?

Surgery is usually reserved as a last treatment option for sleep apnea, a common but serious sleep disorder in which breathing is interrupted throughout the night. The most common surgery (called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) removes some soft tissue at the back of the throat, including the uvula (the part that hangs down). Sometimes the tonsils are removed (called a tonsillectomy) as well. But these surgeries are not always successful in treating sleep apnea.
In extreme cases where there are no other treatment options, a tracheostomy can be performed. This is a hole created surgically in the neck directly into the trachea to allow breathing while bypassing the mouth and nose. While this surgery always cures sleep apnea, it requires significant lifestyle changes and carries some serious risks.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.