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Rhinoplasty for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a fairly common disorder whereby the patient temporarily stops breathing while they sleep. This can last for anywhere from a few seconds to a minute, and a patient can experience anywhere from one to a hundred episodes of sleep apnea during the course of just one night. Nevertheless, unless you sleep with a partner, there is a good chance that you don’t even realize that you are suffering from sleep apnea.


Unfortunately, sleep apnea can have serious repercussions for your health. Not only will you suffer from interrupted sleep (which can also affect your partner and put a strain on your relationship), but patients who experience sleep apnea also suffer from morning headaches, gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD), brain fog and even depression. Left untreated, sleep apnea has been cited as a contributor to a number of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and even heart failure.


How can rhinoplasty help sleep apnea patients?

Although lifestyle changes can go a long way to helping resolve and even prevent sleep apnea, functional rhinoplasty is also a successful solution. Unlike cosmetic rhinoplasty, which is used to improve the overall appearance of the nose, functional rhinoplasty aims to address issues with airway that are having an effect on the patient’s health.


It is the airway becoming blocked that is the primary cause of obstructive sleep apnea. Typically, this blockage happens at the back of the throat, when the soft tissue collapses and prevents the free flow of air into and out of your body. However, there are also issues with the nose that can lead to an obstruction in our breathing, and this can lead to sleep apnea too. For example, a deviated septum, narrow nostrils or a collapsed nose (such as from a trauma), can make it much harder for air to flow through the nostrils into our body.


The importance of the nose as an airway

Many people think that they primarily breathe through their mouth. However, mouth breathing isn’t the most efficient way of getting oxygen into our bodies. In fact, our bodies are designed more for nose breathing than mouth breathing. This is because our nose is packed with receptors that are stimulated to kill bacteria as it enters our airway, preventing us from contracting many diseases. Nose breathing has also been associated with benefits such as:


  • Ensuring better blood flow

  • Enabling us to get a greater volume of oxygen into our lungs with each breath, as much as 10-20%

  • Improving brain function

  • Better breath

  • Reduced risk of sleep apnea (provided there are no blockages)


Can rhinoplasty help treat my sleep apnea?

Every patient is different and therefore is assessed on a case by case basis. However, rhinoplasty is often helpful when it comes to treating sleep apnea, particularly when it is believed that blockages in your nasal passageways are contributing towards the development of your problem.


Functional rhinoplasty for sleep apnea usually involves changes to the nasal structure to remove obstructions and promote better breathing. For example, deviated septum correction is a common form of functional rhinoplasty. So too is nostril enlargement or rebuilding the framework of the nose so that it isn’t as flat, and the airway is opened up.

For us to determine if rhinoplasty can help to treat your sleep apnea, you will first need to attend a consultation with our cosmetic surgery team. We will identify whether it is issues with your nose causing your sleep apnea and will be able to decide what changes will alleviate the problem.

If you are suffering from sleep apnea and would like more information about rhinoplasty surgery to help with your condition, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our discreet and friendly team.