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OSA Treatment

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

For moderate to severe OSA, you would benefit from a small machine that delivers positive air pressure through a mask placed over your nose while you sleep.

There are many different masks available, it is important to find one that is most comfortable for you. With CPAP, the air pressure is greater than that of room air, the amount of pressure prescribed for you is just enough to keep your upper airway passages open, preventing apnea and snoring.

CPAP is the most effective treatment for OSA. Some people find it uncomfortable or cumbersome. With patience and practice most people learn to adjust to the pressure and the mask. Most people also benefit from using a heated humidifier along with their CPAP system.

Please don’t stop using your CPAP machine if you experience problems. Call the Sleep Center (503-561-5170) to see what modifications can be made to make you more comfortable.

Contact your sleep doctor if you are still snoring despite treatment. If your weight changes dramatically, you may need to have the pressure adjusted. [Learn more]

Oral appliances

Another option is wearing an oral appliance. Although CPAP is more effective in treating OSA an oral appliance may be easier and more comfortable for you to use. An oral appliance is designed to open your throat by bringing your jaw forward, which can relieve snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.

A dentist with an interest and experience in sleep and dentistry will fit you with a custom made appliance. Once you find the right fit you’ll need to follow up with your dentist.

Surgery or other procedures

The goal of surgery for sleep apnea is to remove excess tissue from your nose or throat that may be causing you to snore or that may be blocking your upper airway thereby causing sleep apnea. All of these procedures are performed by an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon. Surgical options may include:

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

In this procedure, your surgeon removes tissue from the rear of your mouth and top of your throat. Your tonsils and adenoids usually are removed as well. This type of surgery may be successful in stopping the tissue in your throat from vibrating (snoring).

Maxillomandibular advancement

During this procedure, the upper and lower part of your jaw is moved forward from the facial bones. This enlarges the space behind the tongue and soft palate, making obstruction less likely.

This surgery may require the cooperation of an oral surgeon and an
orthodondist. There are situations this surgery may be combined with another procedure to improve the chances of success.

Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty

Similar to the UPPP, the procedure is performed with specialized equipment.


Removal of the tonsils that can obstruct the upper airway. This is commonly done on children to improve symptoms of OSA.


If other treatments have failed and you have severe, life threatening sleep apnea. In this procedure, your surgeon makes an opening in your neck and inserts a plastic tube through which you breathe. You keep the opening covered during the day, but at night you will uncover it to breath.

Other types of surgery

These may help reduce snoring and sleep apnea:

  • Nasal surgery to remove polyps or straighten the crooked partition between your nostrils. (deviated nasal septum)
  • Surgery to remove enlarged adenoids or tonsils. 

Sleep Center