Sleep Apnea Treatments: Better Breathing Awake and Asleep

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors are uniquely qualified to treat sleep apnea. In many cases, ENTs are able to bring permanent relief for sleep apnea through highly target surgical procedures.

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects proper breathing while you sleep. It’s most commonly caused by obstructions in the nose and throat.

Of course, since ENTs specialize in the nose and throat (in addition to ears!), it naturally makes sense to see an ENT for sleep apnea.

In fact, before any sleep studies are undertaken, it may actually be more important and beneficial to first make sure you are breathing properly.

Sleep Apnea Treatments for Nasal Obstructions

Many people don’t breathe normally through their nasal passages—and without even realizing it. Generally, an ENT will begin sleep apnea treatment by determining if you can breathe properly. This starts with the nose.

The ENT will typically perform a physical examination of your nose and nasal passages. He or she may use an endoscope to see the interior of your nose and sinuses. Sometimes, additional imaging tests may be necessary.

If your doctor diagnoses a nasal obstruction, surgery can frequently bring permanent relief.
Identifying and treating a nasal obstruction that is causing sleep apnea is key. In some cases, patients may be experience additional symptoms and difficulty breathing beyond when just asleep. Sleep apnea procedures are also essentially procedures commonly used to treat different forms of nasal obstruction.

Here’s a look at the most common sleep apnea surgeries:

Balloon Sinuplasty

This is a minimally invasive procedure is perfect for mild nasal or sinus obstructions. If your sleep apnea is caused by narrow nasal or sinus passages, a balloon sinus surgery could be the only sleep apnea treatment you need. It’s performed in-office under local anesthesia and recovery time is swift. During this procedure a small balloon-like device is inserted into the nasal passage using an endoscope. The balloon is inflated to gently widen the passages and anatomical structure, allowing for greater airflow and function. The passages are opened and they will retain their new shape eliminating the obstruction.


Your Turbinates are made of bone and soft tissue located on the inside of the nose. Their function is to condition the air you breathe by warming and humidifying it. If the space between the septum and the turbinates is too small, it makes it difficult for air to get through. Turbinates can also have an overgrowth of bone or tissue making it hard to breathe through the nose. Turbinoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes a portion of the turbinate and increases the passage to restore proper nasal breathing.


Your septum is what divides your nose into two nostrils and is normally straight. If injury, aging or birth ‘defect” causes the septum to be crooked, the less than straight septum is known as a deviated septum. A deviated septum can restrict your airflow and make it hard to breathe. In particular, when you are in a reclined position or if you sleep on your side, breathing with a deviated septum is especially difficult. Septoplasty is a procedure that corrects the septum by restoring it to the proper position. After this is fixed, you can breathe correctly and more freely through your nose again.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery

This surgery, also called FESS, is less invasive than conventional sinus surgery and has a shorter recovery time. It is very effective for removing and correcting sinus blockages. Nasal and sinus polyps are also removed with this procedure, which also cause obstruction and can be contributors to sleep apnea.

Achieve better breathing

Ultimately, the goal of sleep apnea surgery is to remove obstruction and restore proper nasal breathing. For many patients this may be the only sleep apnea treatment you need. If CPAP or other devices are also necessary, undergoing a sleep apnea surgery can help them work much better when you are able to breathe properly and your breathing is improved.

If you are having problems with sleep or snoring, difficulty breathing normally, or think you may have sleep apnea, we can help! Contact Ohio Sinus Institute today to set up a consultation. With our experience and personalized approach, we’ll help you get to the root of the problem and identify the treatment options that are right for you.

Get started on the path to better breathing and sleeping for lasting relief. Call today!