Jaw surgery, also called orthognathic surgery, is primarily known for treating TMJ, speech problems, over bites, underbites, and aesthetic issues such as a protruding jaw or small chin. It can also be very effective for treatment of breathing problems, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In fact, recent studies have shown that orthognathic surgery has more than a 90% success rate when treating sleep apnea patients. There are variations of orthognathic/jaw surgery. Maxillomandibular advancement, which moves the upper (maxilla) and lower (mandible) jaws forward to enlarge the airway, is known to provide the greatest improvement in treating sleep apnea. Because the recovery is typically more prolonged than other procedures and carries a different set of potential risks, maxillomandibular advancement is generally performed in patients who have not achieved sufficient improvement in their sleep apnea after other procedures. However, in some patients with jaw abnormalities, it can be a first-line surgical treatment. For severe sleep apnea, maxillomandibular advancement surgery averages close to a 90% success rate in therapeutic reductions of AHI levels. AHI is the Hypopnoea Index used to indicate the severity of sleep apnea by measuring the number of apnea events (temporary cessations of breathing) per hour of sleep.
Performed in an operating room under general anesthesia, orthognathic surgery is commonly done by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in collaboration with an orthodontist. Careful coordination is essential to ensure proper alignment of jaws and teeth after the surgery. The realignment will be closely monitored through the use of x-rays, pictures, and models of your teeth. During the surgery, all incisions are made inside the mouth. The upper and lower jaws are freed with the use of special instruments and are advanced together, with placement of titanium plates and screws to hold the jaws in position. The jaw bones may be restructured, realigned, added to, or removed from your jaw based on your specific needs. Orthodontic treatment is often performed at the same time. Large braces (called arch bars) are placed on the teeth. Typically, the jaws are not wired together, although rubber bands are usually placed to assist in maintaining a stable bite during the healing process. Following the procedure, our team will provide detailed instructions on post-surgical care and follow-up. Patients are on a soft diet and should avoid chewing solid food for four to six weeks.
Led by Dr. Ruben Cohen, a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, our skilled team of sleep specialists, ENT surgeons, dentists and anaesthesiologists have extensive experience in orthognathic surgery — in addition to other surgical treatments for a wide array of conditions related to sleep apnea. For your added peace-of-mind, our facility is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), the Gold Standard in Accreditation. Our goal at NYC SleepWell, plain and simple, is to help you sleep well – and be healthy!