Depending on the location of the obstruction in the airway, a surgical procedure can be effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea, and it is often effective in treating snoring.

There are several sites where airway obstruction may exist, so there are many types of surgical procedures currently used to treat sleep apnea, including tonsilectomy, tongue base reduction, and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), to name a few.  The most common is UPPP, which has a success rate of about 50 percent.  The challenge that confronts the surgeon is determining what part of the upper airway is causing the obstruction to airflow. If the surgeon does not treat that site in the airway, or if there are multiple sites of obstruction, the sleep apnea may not diminish to a degree that eliminates the need for other treatment.