Sleep endoscopy is an internal exploratory examination of the conductance of the upper airway during sleep. The doctor uses an endoscope, which is inserted through the mouth. This allows the doctor to determine places in the throat where breathing is obstructed. Sleep endoscopy is a type of endoscopy.
This examination is mainly used when a person is diagnosed with a mild or moderate form of sleep apnea. Sometimes, this examination may also be performed when someone is only suffering from snoring.
The endoscope is a flexible tube of about one centimeter in diameter. At the end of the tube, there is a small light and a camera. The light ensures that the doctor has good vision and can see the inside of the upper airway well. The camera is connected to a monitor, on which the doctor can follow the examination.
Prior to sleep endoscopy, the anesthesiologist gives a short-acting sedative through an infusion in the arm. While the patient is asleep, the ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist inserts the endoscope through the mouth. The doctor thus examines the nose, throat, tonsils, uvula, soft palate, tongue base, epiglottis and vocal cords.
During the sleep of the patient, a number of observations is carried out:
- Where in the airway does the snoring sound come from?
- Where does the airway get closed (and thus causes a constriction)?
- Is there a decrease in oxygen content in the blood?
- Are there posibilities to improve the airway by changing posture or jaw position?
The examination takes about 15 minutes.