Do you or someone you know suffer from Sleep Apnea? It’s a condition in which an individual literally stops breathing during sleep, then partially awakens with a gasp or snore. It’s disruptive both to the sleeper and those who sleep with or near them. People with sleep apnea have poor quality sleep, often partially waking dozens of times during the night. Afterwards, they are generally unaware of waking, and may never realize they have sleep apnea until they undergo a Sleep Study, an overnight evaluation of an individual’s sleep. Luckily, a sleep apnea surgery exists that can correct this disruptive condition.
The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
According to a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of cancer and stroke. Over a 20-year period, 397 men and women with sleep apnea participated in the Busselton Health Study. They wore a home sleep-testing device to bed at night. Those with mild sleep apnea had no increased risk of cancer or stroke, but those with moderate to severe sleep apnea had four times the risk for stroke and three times the risk of dying from cancer, as well as 2.5 times the risk of developing cancer.
Solutions for Sleep Apnea
People with sleep apnea often wear a CPAP mask. Unfortunately, the CPAP mask is often difficult for users, because of the noise, the feeling of claustrophobia in some wearers, leaking around the mask, problems sleeping due to the tubing, and waking with a dry mouth and throat. Uvuloplasty is a tried and true solution that avoids the ongoing problems associated with a CPAP mask.
What is a Uvuloplasty?
Uvuloplasty is an elective, outpatient surgical procedure that removes the uvula, the small bit of tissue that hangs down in the back of the mouth in order to stop snoring and/or sleep apnea. Performed in our accredited onsite surgical suite here at our plastic surgery practice in Boca Raton, uvuloplasty eliminates sleep apnea is over 50% of patients, and snoring in over 70% of patients.
How Uvuloplasty Is Performed
Uvuloplasty can be performed under local or general anesthesia in our onsite, accredited Boca Raton plastic surgery operating suite. When under general anesthesia, Dr. Berman inserts a breathing tube, called a tracheostomy tube, in the throat if the patient’s obstruction is severe or if the patient is significantly overweight. This temporary tube is taken out when bleeding and swelling have stopped, sometimes requiring an overnight stay in the ICU to monitor the patient.
In the simple procedure performed under local anesthesia in the office, the uvula is numbed with Lidocaine, after which Dr. Berman rapidly removes the uvula and sutures the area closed.
Recovery from Uvuloplasty
All patients have a sore throat following a uvuloplasty procedure. If you had your tonsils removed as a child, the level of discomfort is similar to that. The soreness generally dissipates over a week or 10 days following the procedure. You can eat whatever you enjoy, so long as you avoid foods with sharp edges like corn chips, pizza crusts, and the like.
If you or someone you care about rattles the walls with his or her loud snoring, or seems to stop breathing during sleep, schedule a sleep test and then meet with Dr. Berman to discuss the potential that uvuloplasty can help. You can schedule your appointment by calling 561-417-0171 or completing this discreet online consultation request form.