Sleep apnoea is a very common condition in the community and is highly under diagnosed. There is a substantial amount of patients who are known to snore that actually have underlying sleep apnoea. When sleep apnoea is severe there are significant health concerns, which include the potential development of diabetes, hypertension, stroke and heart disease.
Obstructive sleep apnoea is diagnosed with a formal sleep study, which can be done either in hospital or at home. Once the study is completed, Dr Broadhurst can review the results and establish a suitable management plan. At times surgery is a suitable option and the management is very similar to the patient with snoring. A meticulous assessment of the upper airway is conducted, involving video endoscopy of the nasal cavity, oral cavity and larynx. Once levels of obstruction are noted they are shown to the patient and surgical options are discussed. The most common techniques used are straightening of the septum (septoplasty) and reduction of the inferior turbinates. This greatly improves the nasal space and reduces turbulent nasal airflow. In the oral cavity the tongue base is reduced with Coblation tongue channelling. This is a highly effective technique and creates minimal discomfort. The palate usually requires shortening and this is done with an anterior palatoplasty. This removes a rectangle of soft tissue. The long sides of the rectangle are then approximated, lifting the palate up and forward, shortening it by 5-7 mm. In the process it also generates scar within the palate, causing it to stiffen and tighten and be less collapsible. If the tonsils are enlarged, they are removed with either Coblation tonsillectomy or Coblation tonsillotomy.
Dr Broadhurst has meticulous pre and post-surgery data that is collected to ensure patient outcomes are satisfactory. This also provides new patients with an estimate of their likely outcome from treatment. Overall there is a substantial reduction in the degree of snoring. Other significant improvements in this treatment include reduction or complete removal of apnoeas, reduction or complete removal of snoring, significant improvement in sleep quality and improvement in daytime energy.