Glossary of Terms

The world of sleep apnea and surgical solutions can be one of complicated terminology and industry specific language. We’re here to help make sense of it all with a quick and easy glossary of terms.

Bimaxillary Advancement Surgery and Maxillomandibular Advancement Surgery

These two surgeries consist of a procedure moving the upper jaw (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible) forward allowing additional oxygen into airways.


The acronym stans for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, and is very similar in function and design to a CPAP machine. A BiPAP machine is a non-invasive form of therapy for patients suffering from sleep apnea.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index is a measurement commonly used to identify obesity. To determine BMI, a weight-to-height ratio is calculated by dividing weight by height (kilograms and meters).


The acronym stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Using low amounts of airway pressure, the air is able to keep airways open for frictionless breathing. There is a mask patients wear. CPAP is a common treatment for people suffering from sleep apnea.

Diagnostic Sleep Study

Used to diagnose medical conditions associated with sleep including sleep apnea, a diagnostic sleep study will take measurements on sleeping patterns including REM sleep and neurological patterns.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness or Somnolence (EDS)

Having a lack of energy and a feeling of overall fogginess even after what you thought was a healthy and sound night of sleep.


A condition where regions of the body or a region of the body lack adequate supplies of oxygen.


Insomnia is a sleep condition where a person is unable to sleep for extended periods of time. Insomnia also makes it difficult to stay asleep once you finally do begin the sleep cycle. Symptoms include tension headaches, awakening during the night and severe difficulty falling asleep at night.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Most common form of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by blockage of the airway, usually when soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses causing vibration (snoring) and lack of oxygen.

Oxygen Saturation

A term to describe when oxygen enters the blood stream.

Periodic Breathing

Breaths separated by sporadic intervals of apnea (no breathing) or near-apnea. As opposed to normal breathing which is usually regular.

Positional Therapy

Preventing airway collapse, positional sleep therapy tests side-sleeping positions preventing airway disruption. There is a device involved that helps the patient with sleep apnea stay sleeping in a favorable position.

REM Sleep

Rapid Eye Movement (REM). Also known as deep sleep, is one of the five stages in the sleep cycle.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing is disrupted. People suffering from severe sleep apnea can even stop breathing during the night and wake up due to lack of oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body.

Sleep Cycle

There are five stages of sleep. The sleep cycle deals with these five stages of sleep with each cycle lasting around 90 minutes. Consisting of non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement (REM), the sleep cycle is important when evaluating healthy sleep and positive levels of energy energy.

Sleep Paralysis

A condition where someone falling asleep or waking up experiences the inability to move. Hypothesized as being an interruption of REM sleep, a stage in the sleep cycle where muscles are resting and are completely asleep.


A procedure performed surgically consisting of an incision on the neck. Producing a direct airway through an incision in the trachea, the hole (stoma) can act as an airway with the use of a tracheostomy tube. The tube allows a person to breathe without the use of their nose or mouth.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

This is a procedure that clears tissue from the airways reducing friction and muscle vibration. This sometimes allows air to move through the throat muscles easier. The surgeon may also remove parts of the tongue; a procedure known as uvulopalatopharyngoglossoplasty

Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) Therapy

A surgically implanted upper-airway stimulation device for patients suffering form obstructive sleep apnea having difficulty accepting CPAP.

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