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  • Sponsored Q&A

    Sleep apnoea issues

    Dr Glen Burgess is an ENT surgeon in Melbourne and the Director and Principal of Melbourne Snoring and Sleep Centre.

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    Mr Glen Burgess discusses sleep apnoea and snoring, with Ed Phillips on Talking Lifestyle
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    • Mr Glen Burgess
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  • Glen is the Director of the Monash Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Unit, Australia’s first multidisciplinary snoring and sleep apnoea unit. He has a special interest … View Profile



    What is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and how do practitioners assess this condition?
    Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, or OSA, is the blockage of the upper airway during sleep. At Southern ENT, we assess Sleep Apnoea by combining a complete clinical examination, including an upper airway endoscopy, with an overnight sleep study. This helps us diagnose Sleep Apnoea and find its causes.

    What treatments are available for Sleep Apnoea patients?
    Treatments for Sleep Apnoea can be split into three categories: lifestyle changes, Sleep Apnoea devices and surgery. Lifestyle changes that can have a positive impact on Sleep Apnoea include maintaining a healthy body weight and working on correct sleep techniques. Devices can include CPAP machines, used to stimulate deeper breathing and increase oxygen absorption, and dental splints. Surgery can be multi-level – including operations to the nose, tonsils, palate or tongue, as necessary.

    Do different Specialists treat Sleep Apnoea differently?
    Yes, absolutely. Approaches for treating Sleep Apnoea often differ between Specialities. Respiratory Physicians tend to provide CPAP masks for Sleep Apnoea, while Dentists can provide dental splints to prevent obstructions in the airway.

    At Southern ENT, we attempt to find the cause of the individual’s Sleep Apnoea with a thorough airway examination. We then offer treatment appropriate to the individual, based on their unique anatomy and set of circumstances.

    Are these treatments evolving? What is new in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)?
    Treatments are evolving to include multiple modality therapy. One example is nasal surgery to enable CPAP use.

    Surgery using Plasma Wands has enabled us to reduce the tonsil size, tighten the palate and reduce the size of the tongue if it is too big and causing obstruction of an individual’s airway.

    Multi-level upper airway surgery is another growing area which is helping many patients obtain better treatment of both snoring and OSA. This is an alternative to CPAP use.

    What is the WatchPat Sleep Study and how does it differ to standard sleep studies?
    The WatchPat Sleep Study is a new technique that can measure and record fluctuations in breathing from a probe worn on the finger. Before this technique, breathing fluctuations would be tested by connecting the individual to a dozen or more leads worn all over the body for the night.

    The WatchPat Sleep Study is a more comfortable and accurate technique, performed at home in the persons’ own bed. At Southern ENT, we also find that the WatchPat technique gives a better evaluation of normal sleep than standard sleep studies.

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