Patterns of obstructive breathing during sleep occur in about 45% of the population, and they can range from simple snoring to periods of true sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to excessive sleepiness during the day, reduced work performance, and cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension, arrhythmias, and compressive cardiac failure. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained in both the diagnosis and the management of this situation. When conservative methods fail to correct the problem, then it becomes necessary to turn to methods of surgical management. Such surgical methods may concern operations in the soft tissues of the oropharynx (palatopharyngoplasty, uvulopalatoplasty assisted by laser, surgical excision with radiofrequency), or the hard tissues of the mandible (advance of the mandible or/and the chin).
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons have the ability to collaborate with doctors of neighboring and other specialties, in order to achieve the therapeutic management of obstructive sleep apnea.