Can Septoplasty Cause Sleep Apnea?

I believe it is from scarring. The surgery was 9 months ago. I never and repeat never had sleep apnea and I am not overweight and rather thin and in excellent physical shape. The roof of my mouth and my septum now vibrate when I sleep. What can I do?

Doctor Answers 9

Can septoplasty make sleep apnea worse?

Septoplasty cannot cure sleep apnea or make moderate to severe sleep apnea worse. Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic disease causing excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, and placing patients at risk for cardiovascular disorders. The primary treatment is CPAP. Septoplasty can help to reduce PAP pressures. There are a number of surgeries that can help with OSA.

San Antonio Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Sleep apnea after septoplasty

Did you actually have a sleep study to prove sleep apnea. Septoplasty iproves sleep apnea. If it is snoring you are experiencing a study o your palat may be in order and see if your septoplasty may have a blockage.

Richard Ellenbogen, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Check back with your nose surgeon- it may be easy to solve

Septoplasty is designed to improve the nasal airway. It is not particularly a cosmetic procedure. Having said that, any surgery in the body can produce small scars as you mention. A tiny scar or adhesion between the septum and the side wall of your nose could be the culprit. This could likely be easily remedied in the office in a few minutes.

I would suggest checking with your surgeon, and if needed, getting a second opinion. 

Christopher J. Peers, MD
South Bend Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Snoring and Sleep Apnea are Different

What you are describing sounds like snoring. While this can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, you can snore without having obstructive sleep apnea. While it is possible that you have nasal airway obstruction or snoring caused by problems after a septoplasty, it is also possible that you have better airflow through your nose which now produces vibration of the soft palate - which didn't happen before because you weren't breathing through your nose at night. In any instance, I would suggest visiting with an ENT surgeon and considering a sleep study. There are many treatments for both snoring and OSA depending on the level of obstruction and the severity of the OSA.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Septoplasty and sleep apnea

Of course a bad septoplasty can cause nasal obstuction and snoring. Good surgeons always evaluate the nasal airway during septoplasty and fix problems with turbinate, polyps etc if they are present. The goal of septoplasty is not only straighten a deviated septum but also to restore the nasal airway.  You may need a revision  to fix the obstruction and should contact your original surgeon or get a second opinion.

Zain Kadri, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

Septoplasty can cause snoring

Certainly its possible, although very uncommon. In fact Septoplasty can improve snoring is a small percentage of sufferers. You would have to also have developed poorer nasal breathing as a result of the Septoplasty. If its due to scarring as you believe, then this can easily be confirmed by examination. You need a sleep study to document you snore and determine if you also have sleep apnea. 

Oakley Smith, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Snoring is not the same as sleep apnea

After a septoplasty, the airflow through your nose changes significantly. These changes may predispose you to snore. However, snoring is not the same thing as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a process where the two instructions in your nose and airway, you may stop breathing for a short pier time. This will result in you waking up intermittently throughout the night. At this time, it's best to bring your concerns to the surgeon to perform the septoplasty as they will be able to carefully examine your airway and look for any signs of obstruction. Your surgeon may decide to refer you to a sleep apnea specialist who can perform sleep studies and function tests to help determine the true cause of your symptoms.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Septoplasty and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can be a multifactorial problem; deviated septum, nasal obstruction such as polyps or other masses), nasopharyngeal obstruction(such adenoidal enlargement), oral airway obstruction ( such as enlarged tonsils and/or excessive palatal tissue) and many others. Snoring and sleep apnea can be related but are two different things.
If you had a septoplasty because you couldn't breathe through your nose and it has been at least 4 months since the surgery, it is possible that adhesions formed in your nose or the septum wasn't completely corrected. It is also possible that you have another reason for your snoring and/or snoring besides your deviated septum.
Hope this helps,
Dr. S.

Oleh Slupchynskyj, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 272 reviews

Sleep apnea

Sleep Apnea is not the same as snoring. Sleep apnea is a true disturbance in breathing while you are asleep. These gaps in breathing have to last a certain amount of time and have to occur a certain number of times each minute to qualify for the diagnosis. It requires a sleep lab study or something equivalent. It is unusual for the source of the airway obstruction to be at the level of the nose. It is usually further down the airway. Therefore, it is unlikely that a septoplasty would cause apnea. I would suggest getting a sleep study to determine if in fact you do have apnea.

Amir M. Karam, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.