Can Breast Implants Cause Sleep Apnea?

I saw a woman today who came in for a routine ear problem, but just happened to mention that her sleep has been poor for the past 2 years. It turns out that she underwent breast augmentation 2 years ago and ever since has been forced to sleep on her side or back. Normally she prefers to sleep on her stomach, but since the surgery, it's been uncomfortable to sleep in this position.

I see this situation more commonly after women read articles in magazines where dermatologists are telling women to avoid sleeping on their stomachs or sides to avoid facial wrinkles. Of course the timing is perfect, where the onset of various symptoms (headaches, fatigue, sinus problems, etc.) began around the time that they started sleeping on their backs.

As I've stated before, many modern humans have smaller jaws, and this leads to the tongue to take up relatively more space in the mouth. When on our backs, the tongue can fall back partially due to gravity. Once you reach the deeper stages of sleep, your muscles relax, and you'll stop breathing and then wake up. Most people toss and turn and figure out that they prefer to sleep on their sides or stomach. Anything that prevents the preferred sleep position (pregnancy, neck injury, surgery, etc.) can prevent deep efficient sleep.

So technically, breast implants don't cause obstructive sleep apnea directly , but it can definitely cause you to stop breathing more often. 

How many of you have had a similar situation? What made your sleep position change for the worse? Please enter your answer in the comments box below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 thoughts on “Can Breast Implants Cause Sleep Apnea?

  1. Ever since my breast augmentation I snore really bad. After reading this article it kinda explains some of my situations. I toss an turn, can’t sleep on my stomach anymore, an started sleeping by myself. My fiance says my snoring is horrible, an keeps him awake.

  2. Ok, Ok – I am full of crazy ideas today. How about a mattress with a depressed area the augmented breasts can be happy in while sleeping on the tummy.

    Who knows, it might increase augmentation over time?

    FWIW,

    Tod

  3. I’ve slept on my back or side since I was a child, and have always had great sleep… no trouble falling asleep, and no snoring or apnea. 4 months ago I underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer and had tissue expanders put in at that time, replaced with implants four weeks ago. Normally I awaken without an alarm at 7am every day. It has been that way for a decade at least and I awaken refreshed if I have gotten 7 to 8 hours of sleep, having gone to bed at 11 or 12. Now, I go to bed at that time and I wake up after 9, usually 10 or even 11am. I have a headache and feel tired. I realized recently that I’m snoring (I sleep alone, so there’s no one to tell me I am). I also feel I am waking up in the middle of the night not breathing, and then consciously take a deep breath, eventually returning to sleep. I am just putting two and two together and realizing this sleep pattern is not simply “the body needs rest for healing”. I will be talking to my PCP about it next visit, but it definitely isn’t due to not sleeping on my stomach, as I never have.

  4. Lo,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I wanted to emphasize that any alteration in your sleep position can disrupt your normal sleep quality. In addition, chemotherapy and hormone suppressing medications can also worsen sleep-breathing problems. Hope you find the help you need to get better sleep.