Is surgery a good option for Sleep Apnea?

Before you consider going under the knife, realize that most surgical procedures for sleep apnea are failures.

1) They often don’t work

2) They have serious side effects

3) And when it does work, often the snoring and poor quality sleep come back after a while

But if you are suffering from chronic symptoms and really feel like you need something besides CPAP, surgery may be an option.  Be sure to know what the potential risks are.

Even when the data seem to support surgery, it’s hard to accept because you have to ask who is generating the data.  Surgery is a huge money maker for everyone involved.

Weight Loss Surgery

Of 1921 obese patients with sleep apnea who had weight loss surgery, 85% experienced improvement in apnea symptoms.

This makes sense.  Weight loss, which should normally be done through diet modification and exercise, helps reduce sleep apnea symptoms.

Uvulopalatopharyngeal Removal

This procedure consists of removal of the uvula.

It is common, but perhaps not as effective as was previously thought.  It has significant and serious side effects like difficulty swallowing and talking.  Languages like German, Russian, Chinese and French – among others – may be much harder to pronounce.

25-50% of Uvulopalatopharyngeal procedures fail.

Radiofrequency Ablation

This procedure is controversial.  Some say it’s effective and targeted, while other hold that’s it not a first line treatment because of poor efficacy.

Treatment occurs over multiple sessions.

There is not significant data for this procedure, and research continues.

Maxillomandibular Advancement

This procedure has experienced a lot of hype recently because it seems to work well.  Some data claim 97% and even 100% success rates.  An invasive procedure, most patients properly recover from Maxillomandibular advancement.  Some feel that it even makes them more attractive as a side benefit.

80% of patients suffer temporary numbness in addition to other complications and recovery challenges.  Relapse can occur in 15% of patients.  This surgery moves both of your jaws to hopefully align them better.



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