Surgical Sleep Apnea Treatment

Improve Your Sleep

Patients suffering from sleep apnea often struggle with the effects in various aspects of their lives. If you have not seen significant results from traditional methods such as CPAP masks or oral appliances you may be in need of surgical sleep apnea treatment. To ensure their patients receive the best care available, nearly 100 doctors in the community regularly refer their patients to our surgical center in Knoxville, TN. At Knoxville Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery you can undergo uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (T&A), or maxillo-mandibular advancement. Our surgeons, Turner P. Emery and Frank Rizzo are dedicated to providing patients with safe, effective procedures to improve their sleep and quality of life.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when a patient unconsciously stops breathing when asleep. There are three classifications obstructive, central, and mixed, however, each can have similar long-term effects on the body. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of the condition and is caused by blockage of the airway. Central sleep apnea is different in that the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Patients who suffer from mixed sleep apnea experience a combination of both issues. 

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a prevalent disease, often underdiagnosed, and potentially can lead to fatalities. The awareness of sleep apnea in the general public has increased tremendously recently. Many people with this disease feel tired throughout the day because their sleep architecture is disrupted frequent nighttime awakenings.

Obstructive sleep apnea causes the soft tissues block the airway, stopping or limiting breathing and disrupting your sleep.

What are the Symptoms?

During the night, patients with sleep apnea can wake up to hundreds of times as their body forces them to begin breathing once again. While the body may disrupt sleep to initiate breathing, many patients do not become fully awake. This process can lead an array of moderate to severe symptoms including: 

  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Mood swings or depression
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat or dry mouth
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke

Your doctor can provide an in-depth evaluation to determine the root of your issues and can help you plan treatment accordingly. If you suffer from central or mixed sleep apnea, you may require treatment from a neurologist.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

The standard of care for diagnosing is a sleep study or polysomnogram (PSG). These are typically performed in sleep centers, but some are now available as in home tests. Once you received an OSA diagnosis, the first line of therapy is usually home CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). CPAP forces oxygen into your airway at a determined level of pressure which is designed to relieve any obstruction and to allow air to flow freely into and out of the lungs.

50% of CPAP users are non-compliant, meaning that they cannot tolerate wearing the device through the night. In these circumstances, other non-surgical options exist, in particular medicines and jaw-repositioning devices. There is a growing trend of general dentists who are fabricating these appliances. Yet, there remains many of these patients who cannot tolerate the appliances.

Once these non-surgical options have been exhausted, a patient may consider surgically addressing their OSA. Many surgeries exist for the management of OSA including tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, nasal septoplasty, uvulopharyngopalatoplasty, and many others. One of the surgical options is maxillomandibular advancement. In this procedure, both upper and lower jaws are repositioned in a more forward relationship which ultimately increases the volume of the airway in three dimensions to lessen or even eliminate any airway obstruction during sleep.

Non-Surgical and Surgical Treatment Options

Typically, non-surgical treatments are recommended before attempting surgical care for obstructive sleep apnea. These treatments can include:

  • CPAP
  • Oral Appliances
  • EPAP
  • Orthodontic treatment

When these methods have not proven effective, surgical procedures are the next step. In such cases, doctors may decide to recommend their patients to our comprehensive surgical center to ensure their patients can receive high-quality care they need.

Drs. Emery and Rizzo have extensive training and can perform various surgical procedures for obstructive sleep apnea, including:


Excess tissue is removed from the throat, nose, or mouth to create a wider airway. This approach allows air to pass through with fewer obstacles.


This treatment is primarily provided for children. During a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, the swollen tonsils and adenoids that are blocking the airway will be removed.

Maxillo-Mandibular Advancement

For patients with a jaw deformity, the upper and lower jaw can be moved forward to create a much larger airway.  

When your doctor refers you to our practice, we coordinate your care based on prior efforts, sleep study results and a combined treatment plan.

You can be confident in the care provided at Knoxville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to always put your best interest at the forefront.

Benefits of Surgical Treatment

Undergoing oral or maxillofacial surgery to treat sleep apnea can have significant effects on your overall quality of life. Benefits can include: 

  • Decreased risk long-term of heart conditions
  • Better sleep
  • Improved or eliminated snoring 
  • Increased energy to engage in daily activities 

While there are many advantages to actively managing your condition, it is important to be aware that results vary for each patient. For some patients, their symptoms may be completely alleviated. For others, the use of a CPAP machine or other treatment may be needed in combination with surgery. Our team will work with your doctor to coordinate the most beneficial care for your condition. 

Coordinated Care for Your Needs

You can be confident in the care provided at Knoxville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to always put your best interest at the forefront. 

Contact our practice online or reach out at (865) 240-2977 to learn more about our surgical sleep apnea procedures. 

Testimonials From Our Patients

We are proud to be able to provide our patients with access to first-rate surgical care, cutting-edge procedures, and an overall outstanding experience.  

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Our Office Locations

We have two office locations in Knoxville, TN.

West Knoxville Location

6207 Highland Pl Way, Ste 207
Knoxville, TN 37919

Hours: Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Phone: (865) 584-6207

North Knoxville Location

2939 Essary Dr, Ste 1
Knoxville, TN 37918

Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Phone: (865) 240-2977

North Knoxville

West Knoxville