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SARPE Palatal Expanse Surgery For Sleep Apnea


What Is Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion?

Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion (SARPE) is a procedure that enlarges the maxillary dental arch (upper jaw) and the palate (roof of the mouth) in order to re-establish balance between the width of the jaws. Expansion is usually recommended when the upper jaw is too narrow compared to the lower jaw. Not only does this cause imbalance, but a jaw that is too narrow can also limit the airway located above the palate (nasal cavity). Palatal enlargement can help facilitate the flow of air and allow a patient to breathe more easily through the nose. As a result, it can provide relief from those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Additional benefits of SARPE include:

  • Creates more space to align crooked teeth
  • Helps to eliminate crossbites (in which two sets of teeth do not meet correctly)
  • May help prevent TMJ disorders

What’s involved in the SARPE procedure?

Prior to surgery, the patient will require a custom-made specialized orthopedic expanding appliance made to fit in the palate. This expander is cemented to the first molars and premolars and activated with a special key. The key turns a screw within the expander to allow for separation of the right and left side of the upper jaw. The expander also functions as a retainer after the expansion has occurred. The actual SARPE surgery is performed at our office at NYC SleepWell as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia, or at the hospital. The surgeon will first use specialized instruments to perform multiple bone cuts in specific locations that will symmetrically expand the arch. No fixating devices are used other than the expander. Over the next several months, the patient will use the key every day to achieve incremental expansions, which commonly creates a space between the two front teeth. The expander will typically stay in the mouth after the expansion has been attained for about three months, at which time it is removed. Orthodontic treatment to close the space between the two front teeth will then begin. Patients generally do not find the procedure to be too uncomfortable or painful, and swelling commonly occurs. Patients are followed very closely during the first two weeks to ensure no complications are encountered. It’s commonly recommended that the patient eat soft foods after the procedure.

Why choose NYC SleepWell for SARPE?

Led by Dr. Ruben Cohen, a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, our skilled team of sleep specialists, dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, ENT surgeons, and anaesthesiologists have extensive experience in the SARPE procedure — 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!


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