As one of the world's experts in the evaluation and surgical treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Kezirian is committed to providing outstanding, comprehensive, and state of the art patient care while advancing the field through innovation and research. Dr. Kezirian works closely with patients to ensure that they receive the highest-quality care from a team of providers that tailors a treatment plan to them.
Snoring is sound produced during sleep, typically from vibration of structures inside the throat. Snoring can have important effects by itself. However, it can be a sign of a more-serious problem called obstructive sleep apnea that can lead to sleepiness and fatigue during the day and create serious health problems.
What are snoring and obstructive sleep apnea?
Risk factors include being male, weight gain, race and ethnicity, and the natural aging process that affects everyone (not just the elderly). The size and position of many structures of the head and neck often have important effects on the risk of developing snoring and sleep apnea.
Who is at risk?
Typically, the snoring sound comes from the back of the roof of the mouth (soft palate and uvula), but successful treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is much more complex than just focusing on that one area. Different patients have different causes. The critical importance of identifying these causes and developing personalized treatment plans is the reason why he has focused his career exclusively in this area.
What are the causes?
Individuals who snore are often told by others that it is bothersome, but that is not always the case. Individuals with loud snoring or other signs/symptoms like sleepiness or fatigue should have a sleep study. A sleep study can be performed in a sleep laboratory or at home, and it serves multiple roles: establishing a diagnosis (snoring vs. sleep apnea) and directing appropriate treatment (different for the two conditions).
How do I find out if I have snoring or obstructive sleep apnea?
Positive airway pressure (CPAP, BiPAP, or AutoPAP) is a non-surgical therapy that works by delivering air pressure to prevent blockage of breathing in the throat. It is recognized as the first-line treatment for obstructive sleep apnea because it works well in the ideal situation where patients can wear it and sleep comfortably through the night, every night. Unfortunately, many patients do not tolerate it well, and it is important that these patients undergo evaluation to improve compliance or seek alternative treatment.
Surgical treatment must be directed at the areas that are responsible for snoring and airway narrowing or complete obstruction. There is a wide range of procedures available to stop snoring and to enlarge and/or stabilize the airway to prevent blockage of breathing in the three major areas where it can occur: the nose, palate, and tongue regions. Dr. Kezirian's research and that of other experts in the field has shown that often more than one of these areas is responsible and that accurate identification and treatment of the involved areas is critical.
Oral appliances represent an alternative non-surgical therapy for certain patients with snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Kezirian works closely with dentists who have expertise and experience in sleep dentistry to identify patients who might benefit most from these devices.
The following videos present a summary of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea and the first two categories of treatment options:For more information, please continue to Snoring and Sleep Apnea Surgery Overview.