For many of you, the idea of sleeping with a mask or something inside your mouth makes you cringe. Sleep apnea is taking a toll on your personal and professional life, and you’re willing to consider surgery. You do your research, but find that there are so many different opinions about sleep apnea surgery, it’s impossible to make any sense in deciding on the options. For a summary of how to decide if surgery is right for you, read my report, “The Truth About Sleep Apnea Surgery.”
In this post, I will reveal 7 reasons why you should avoid sleep apnea surgery. In my next post, I’ll go over 7 good reasons to think about surgery for sleep apnea.
1. You’re severely overweight
Studies have shown that the more overweight you are, the less likely any surgery for sleep apnea will succeed. In general losing significant weight will lower your sleep apnea severity by only one level (severe to moderate, moderate to mid, etc.). However, once you do lose a lot of weight, you can be a better candidate for surgery.
One type of surgery that I recommend often is nasal surgery. In general, it’s not going to cure you of your sleep apnea. However, being able to breathe better through your nose can make CPAP or dental appliances (or even future surgery) work much better.
2. You have severe OSA
In general, the more overweight you are, the less likely you’ll respond to sleep apnea surgery. If you can lose a significant amount of weight, then the better your chances for surgical success.
3. Your surgeon recommended a UPPP only
There are exceptions to this situation, but in general, a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) along has less than a 40% chance of surgical success. “Let’s do the UPPP to see if it works” is not a good answer. Your surgeon should make recommendations based on the published data, personal experience and your unique situation.
4. Many hospitals and surgeon are not experienced with OSA surgery
Most ENT surgeons will be familiar with basic sleep apnea procedures, but there are very few that do a variety of different surgical procedures at different levels of the throat. Since undergoing anesthesia with sleep apnea also places you at a higher risk, it’s important that the anesthesiologist and hospital is well experienced in treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea.
5. You haven’t tried CPAP or dental devices
From a practical standpoint, it’s unlikely that your insurance company will approve any kind of surgery if you have not tried a CPAP or dental appliance first. Medically speaking, it’s generally recommended trying non-surgical options before considering surgery.
6. Your nose is stuffy
The more stuffy your nose is, the less likely throat surgery will help. This concept applies to CPAP and dental appliances, and it applies to surgery as well.
7. You don’t have family or friend’s support
Undergoing any type of surgery is a big commitment. You’ll need help making errands, doing chores around the house and to help you cook and eat meals. Most importantly, it’s vital that your family members are supportive of your decision.
If you’re considering undergoing surgery for sleep apnea, how many of the above reasons do you have not to undergo the procedure? Please participate in the discussion in your favorite social media link below.