I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. The doctor told me that I should either get a CPAP machine or go through apnea surgery. Is there such a thing as apnea surgery? How does it work? Sleep Disorders width=’250px’ align=’left’ /> Which is better? Undergoing apnea surgery or buying a CPAP machine?
Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of sleep apnea, is caused by excess tissues or any anatomical differences such as having a large tongue or large tonsils that may obstruct the airway. It may also be caused by the abnormal relaxation of throat muscles, causing the throat area to collapse, cutting off the flow of air to the lungs. Apnea surgery maybe done to remove or decrease the size of the obstructions in the throat area, increasing the size of the airway and making it easier for air to pass through. This can be done by removing the uvula, the fleshy tissue which hangs at the end of the palate, and other excess tissues that may block the air passage. This is called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), the most common form of apnea surgery. Another form of apnea surgery is mandibular myotomy which involves cutting a rectangular portion of the front part of your jaw, pulling it out and turning it by 90 degrees before re-attaching it. This will move your tongue forward by six to ten millimeters, stopping it from falling into the opening of your throat, blocking the passage of air. Of course, for this type of surgery, you will need to find a doctor who is experienced in ENT surgery or maxillofacial surgery. The most advanced form of apnea surgery is the radio frequency procedure or somnoplasty. This involves piercing the tongue, throat or soft palate with an electrode that is connected to a frequency generator and heating the inner tissue of any of these areas at a temperature of 158 to 176 degrees for at least half an hour. The good thing about this procedure is that it only shrinks the inner tissue, leaving the outer tissue intact. You can go through this procedure without damaging your sense of taste. Unfortunately, because this is a new and experimental procedure, it is not yet covered by insurance companies. These procedures are usually done for people who cannot stand using a CPAP machine when they go to bed. Although this machine is safe, effective and can cause immediate relief, using it can be very uncomfortable for some people. As a matter of fact, some people actually stop using it after a year. Apnea surgery, on the other hand, can permanently cure your sleep apnea. It is not as safe as using a CPAP machine though. Also, sometimes, more than one treatment is necessary to cure sleep apnea. It can also come with some serious side effects such as pain and swelling of the throat. Even worse, if the operation is unsuccessful, other treatments may become ineffective. For this reason, maybe you should make surgery your last resort. Perhaps you should start by renting a CPAP machine and see if you can do without surgery. After all, there are many types of CPAP machines available in the market. You might find one that would fit you perfectly and would not cause you any discomfort.