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surgery for sleep apnea

I have sleep apnea. I hate using the CPAP! I do not sleep any better with it. I wake up with my stomach bloated with air, or I wake up with an extremely dry mouth, or I wake up with air leaking out of the side of the mask... every night, not just some times.  I tried two different masks to no avail.

I am looking into surgery. The ENT doc put a camera down my nose and suggest I get some of the soft pallet removed, as well as my tonsils, but there is only a 50/50 chance of it correcting the problem. I am all for that! It's worth a try; however, he said "your tongue does not fall back in your throat when you lean back".  I am not a doctor, but I'm thinking "duh" I'm not sleeping, so my tongue is NOT relaxed enough to fall back into my throat.  Why don't they do CT/MRI/PET scans WHILE the person is sleeping to see EXACTLY what is obstructing the throat. I know there are machines that can see how someone swallows using video, why not use that for sleep apnea sufferers to correct the actual problem??  I don't think that soft pallet tissue & tonsils will solve the problem itself. If that were the case, I'd probably still be able to breathe through my nasal airway and not have a problem except for the snoring.  I think a doc who uses this kind of screening prior to surgery would have a very high success rate for correcting the real problem.  Unless, of course, they are in cahoots with the CPAP machine producers/sellers?  maybe get a "kickback"?

any comments or suggestions are highly appreciated.

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Avatar universal
Your rationale about more indepth pre-surgical testing increasing the odds of a successful outcome makes perfect sense to me, but I have no idea what is or is not available. Was your apnea diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe? Everything I've read says the odds of success decrease with the severity of the apnea.

I've known 3 people personally who had surgery. All regretted having their uvula removed. None were toally cured of their apnea. If yours is mild enough, maybe surgery plus using a dental device would work, but there's no guarantees. At least your doc is up front about what to expect.

I personally would want better than 50/50 odds for an elective surgery, but it sounds like you're ok with it, so I can't say I blame you for going for the chance that you'll be one of the success stories. If you do opt for the surgery, after you've healed and some time passes, it would be wise to be retested to be sure your apnea is resolved. Some do okay for a while then symptoms reappear later, so be in tune for that.

I do want to throw out that there are innumerable masks out there, and it's not unusual to try several before finding a dream mask. My 5th one was the keeper for me.
Helpful - 0
765775 tn?1366024691
I have had the surgery that you describe as well as a deviated septum repaired. I will tell you that this surgery is no walk in the park. It is like getting hit in the face by a truck. Getting your tonsils removed in adulthood is very painful as they are quite large. Your Uvula getting cut out doesn't feel much better.

The operaration seemed to be sucessful for about a year and then I put a few pounds back on the old bread basket and my sleep apnea returned. My snoring was not as bad though. My doctor feels that my body is not tolerant of the extra weight and that is the problem. It is not that excessive either, only abot 20lbs. total.

Anyway I had to go on the CPAP. I couldn't tolerate it either when I had first gotten it and that is why I got the surgery. However they have so many new machines and nasal masks today I am sure your doctor can find something that works for you. I use a nasal pillow myself and I don't even realize I have it on anymore. The nasal pillow will only leak when it is worn out and you need a new one. I don't go anywhere without my CPAP and even have a backup unit should somthing happen to the other. It is a lifesaver.

If you are feeling air in your stomach in the morning your prescription may need to be adjusted or your mouth is opening while your asleep and causing you to take in too much air. They have comfortable chin straps for that to prevent that from happening.

We are all different and only you know what is best for you.

I hope this was helpful to you and Good Luck.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask anytime.



Helpful - 0
765775 tn?1366024691
I also neglected to mention that when your Uvula (Soft Pallet) is removed you can and will have problems if you drink fluids to quickly. What I mean by that is whatever you are drinking will come out of your nose if you drink too fast. It is not very pleasant.

Also that fact that your mouth is dry is almost a sure indication that your mouth is open while your sleeping. You will most likely need the chin strap.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
hmmm all your responses have made me re-think surgery... Maybe I just need to take off the 25 pounds I put on that made my apnea go from mild to severe.  I tried the nasal pillow first & it seems like my nostril were larger than my head! (from the pressure).  
thanks for the info!!  :-)
Helpful - 0
765775 tn?1366024691
Did you try the nasal pillow or nasal cannula? The nasal pillow goes over your entire nose and the cannula goes right up into your nostrils.
Helpful - 0
220090 tn?1379167187
There is a device called Inspire.  It is implanted under the skin of the chest similar to a pacemaker.  It connects to the nerve that controls the throat muscles and stimulates the never every time you breath.  It has a remote that the user turns on at bedtime and off in the morning.  I am considering it.  I had a study where the doc put a scope down my throat to watch what happens and afterwards they said I qualify for the Inspire device.  I am trying to decide if I should try it.
Helpful - 0
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