Are There Outpatient Surgeries for Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common yet potentially dangerous sleep disorder, and in some cases, it can be treated without surgery. Sometimes, however, an outpatient surgical procedure is the most effective treatment option.
In this blog, the board-certified sleep doctors at eos sleep in NYC explain the most common type of outpatient surgeries that can help treat sleep apnea:
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes numerous episodes of stopped breathing as you sleep. This can occur hundreds of times a night, and you may not be aware that it’s happening.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, and it occurs when your upper airway becomes repeatedly blocked. Another type, central sleep apnea, is caused by your brain failing to send signals to your muscles to breathe. Both deprive your body of the oxygen it needs to function well.
What are its symptoms?
Sleep apnea can cause troublesome and even dangerous symptoms, including the following:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Gasping or snorting sounds during sleep
- Dry mouth or a sore throat when you wake up
- Headaches when you wake up
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering
- Restless sleep
- Repeated awakenings at night
In addition, if sleep apnea continues over time, it can raise your risk of developing chronic health issues such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Are outpatient surgeries available?
When non-invasive treatment isn’t effective enough in treating sleep apnea, surgery may be recommended.
The following are some common types of outpatient surgeries that are performed to treat sleep apnea:
Septoplasty – Used to realign a deviated septum. When this wall of bone and cartilage between your nostrils is deviated too far over to one side, it can block your upper airway.
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) – Involves inserting a small lighted scope into your sinus openings to remove small amounts of bone or tissue that are causing blockages. It can help treat sleep apnea caused by chronic nasal congestion, chronic sinus infection and nasal polyps (non-cancerous grape-like growths).
What is recovery like?
Outpatient surgeries usually have an easier and faster recovery when compared to procedures that require a stay of one or more nights in the hospital.
Unless there are complications, you should be able to go home on the same day as your procedure after your anesthesia has worn off. You may need to avoid intense exercising for a few weeks and may also have your nose packed with cotton for a day or two.
Your doctor can prescribe pain medication if needed or suggest an over-the-counter pain reliever, and elevating your head at night can help reduce swelling.
Who makes a good candidate for these surgeries?
When you’re first diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as losing excess weight or changing your sleeping position. You may also be asked to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which uses a stream of air that moves through the tubing and into a mask that fits over your mouth and/or nose. CPAP can help keep your airways open, but many people have trouble using it.
If lifestyle changes and non-invasive measures haven’t been effective enough, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the issue that’s causing the blockage.
If you have symptoms that could be associated with sleep apnea, make an appointment today with eos sleep in NYC. Our board-certified sleep specialists will create an individualized treatment plan for you and thoroughly explain your options, including the possibility of outpatient surgery if other forms of treatment have been unsuccessful.