Middle Aged Man SleepingThere are many challenges that make sleep apnea surgery less effective in many circumstances. Most sleep apnea surgery involves removing tissues that obstruct the airways. But how does the surgeon know how much tissue to remove to properly open the airway? A new procedure allows doctors to put a patient into a sleep apneic state safely so that surgeons can directly observe the obstruction and make accurate plans for its removal.

Drug-Induced Sleep Endoscopy

The technique is called drug-induced sleep endoscopy (DISE). In this procedure, the fast-acting anesthetic propofol is used to induce the sleep apnea state quickly. The dosage is determined by a new computer algorithm that takes into account factors like age and weight, and it’s delivered in a smooth fashion with constant monitoring that avoids overdosing.

Benefits of the New Approach

The new approach to inducing a sleep apnea state is better than previous approaches for many reasons. First, the study can be conducted in a doctor’s office and doesn’t require the use of a sleep lab. It can be done more quickly than other studies. Although previous studies typically took 6.2 minutes to induce sleep apnea, this new approach takes only 3.8 minutes, about two and a half minutes less!

Along with the shorter procedure time, DISE is safer for patients because it maintains oxygen saturation. While many sleep studies cause blood oxygen levels to dip to 80%, DISE maintains oxygen levels at a relatively high 91%.

In the current study of 97 patients, published in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, no patients experienced adverse effects from the procedure.

In the past, surgeons have had to choose between quick methods for inducing sleep apnea that were relatively risky, and slower ones that were relatively safe. DISE is both quick and safe.

Although sleep apnea surgery still has its risks and limitations, advances like DISE are making it a better option as a second or third-line sleep apnea treatment when CPAP and/or oral appliances are not effective.

If you want to understand your sleep apnea treatment options, please call 402-493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.