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Front Page » October 16, 2003 » Local News » New healing technique for sleep disturbance used by local...
Published 4,373 days ago

New healing technique for sleep disturbance used by local doctor

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Staff reporter

For those who have a spouse that snores, the reverberation has most likely prevented many nights of good sleep.

The inconvenient and annoying nature of the noise can rob those valuable six to eight hours spent trying to recooperate from a long day while the snorer sleeps peacefully to the sound of their own, nasally tune.

However, Otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat physician) Brian Peterson says that those listening are not the only party that can suffer from snoring.

Snoring is a resistance in the airway, causing a block in air movement, according to Peterson.

Forty to 50 percent of adults are snorers.

Peterson noted that while snoring itself is not dangerous, it can be a sign of a more serious condition: sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is the total cessation of breathing while asleep.

The lack of air is problematic, as it can cause high blood pressure and put extra stress on the heart.

Peterson also said that those suffering from sleep apnea can wake several times during the night to take a deep breath, causing fragmented and unrestful sleep.

"You wake up feeling like you got hit by a truck," he commented. "It can also pose a risk for driving and operating heavy machinary."

There are however, a variety of treatments for sleep apnea.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sufferers can look to a number of physical, mechanical, surgical and behavioral options.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a nasal CPAP. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and is a mask over the nose that forces a safe amount of air down the nasal passages.

Dental appliances may also be used to reposition the mouth and ease breathing.

A current surgery for sleep apnea sufferers is a Uvulo Palato Pharyngo Plasty. In this procedure, a piece of the palette and the uvula are removed.

However, Peterson said the procedure can be very painful and the success rate is only 40 to 60 percent.

"I have a mixed bag of results with my procedures," he commented.

Another option for easing the problem is simple weight loss. Because extra weight can narrow the openings in the mouth, Peterson asserts that those who are overweight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.

There is even one further choice for sleep apnea sufferers. It is a new procedure called a genioglossus advancement.

A genioglossus advancement consists of a bio-inert screw which is inserted into the back of the jaw bone. Permanent suchers are attached to the fixed part of the tongue and are then connected to the screw.

As a result, the tongue is no longer able to roll back and block the airway.

Only one location in the state of Utah offers the procedure. Luckily for Carbon County residents, it is right here in Price.

"It's pretty exciting that we're on the cutting edge of technology here in Price," Peterson emphasized.

Local physician and collegue of Peterson's, David Nichols, heard about the procedure at a Stanford seminar and brought the information back. The doctors then learned how to perform the surgery from the company which designs the bone screw.

Peterson claims a genioglossus advancement is less evasive than the Uvulo Palato Pharyngo Plasty and has a much higher success rate of up to 90 percent.

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