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ENT Sleep Disorders

Sleep plays a vital role in our physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. Sleep deficiency can raise the risk for health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and obesity. In addition, people who don’t sleep well or don’t get enough sleep are less productive at work and school.

The Sleep Disorders Program at Wayne State University Physician Group is dedicated to the management of patients with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Following a comprehensive evaluation, a customized treatment plan will be formulated to best fit your individual needs.

You may have a sleep disorder if:

  • It takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night
  • You awaken frequently in the night and have trouble falling back asleep
  • You don’t feel well rested, even if you spend seven or more hours sleeping at night
  • You feel sleepy during the day, fall asleep unexpectedly or at inappropriate times during the day
  • Your bed partner claims you snore loudly, snort, gasp or make choking sounds while you sleep
  • You regularly need to use stimulants such as caffeine to stay awake during the day

The primary goals of the WSUPG Sleep Disorder Program are:

  1. To treat snoring with minimally invasive office procedures, such as placement of rigid implant to strengthen the floppy soft palate (Pillar palatoplasty), removal of large uvula (uvulectomy), or stiffening the soft palate by chemical injection.  
  2. To improve patient compliance with the use of positive airway pressure device (such as CPAP, BiPAP, etc.) by correction of problems such as nasal obstruction, large tonsils, etc. that may interfere with the use of the device. These procedures may include the removal of large tonsils or the correction of nasal obstruction by minimally invasive surgical procedures.
  3. To provide a surgical alternative for those patients who cannot tolerate a CPAP or BiPAP machine. For these patients, we provide a careful evaluation of the upper airway to identify the exact site obstruction by conducting a sleep endoscopy.  A sleep endoscopy is a procedure in which the inside of the patient’s throat is examined using a small video camera while he or she is sleeping in the operating room. Surgical treatment, including robotic base of tongue resectioning, will then be directed toward the correction of the site or sites of airway obstruction identified during the endoscopy.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.


Frequent, loud snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea and may increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Snoring also may lead to daytime sleepiness and impaired performance.

Snoring is caused by a narrowing or partial blockage of the airways at the back of your mouth, throat, or nose. This obstruction results in increased air turbulence when breathing in, causing the soft tissues in your upper airways to vibrate. This narrowing of the airways is typically caused by the soft palate, tongue, and throat relaxing while you sleep, but allergies or sinus problems also can contribute to a narrowing of the airways, as can being overweight and having extra soft tissue around your upper airways.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment and sleep disorders, please call 877-WSU-DOCS.

Credit: National Institutes of Health, Wayne State University School of Medicine