February 9, 2011

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Surgery

I don't know what it is lately, but apparently surgeons are trying to build their retirement fund before the Affordable Care Act gets before the Supreme Court. I am reading more and more about surgery being the solution for more and more health problems. That in itself sets off alarms about what is happening in healthcare that has surgeons operating everywhere they can.

Some surgeries are for the best and are unavoidable, but for obstructive sleep apnea, I have a real problem with this as even the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) is very cautious about recommending surgery. Most surgeries cannot be reversed and can leave worse problems than using other options.

Apparently the surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit have determined that it is acceptable and are trying to convince other surgeons that surgery is best. Since I don't have access to the full study, I can only assume that they did not compare results of the Epworth Sleepiness Score (ESS) questionnaire for those that have success with CPAP Equipment. I know that after being on the CPAP machine for three months that my score would have been 0.5 compared to the maximum score before the sleep study and use of the CPAP machine.

I can understand why the study only selected obstructive sleep apnea patients that were not successful with the CPAP equipment as this group would show an advantage for the surgery. They also don't state the sex of the participants to determine whether there were problems other than just the equipment that may have caused these patients to have problems with CPAP.

Before you let this study influence you, I would suggest reading what the ASAA has to say about surgery and then read my blog about surgery here. Please read what patients on site 5 have to say about surgery.  I know that I would not want surgery that is often less than successful and cannot be reversed. I have and use a CPAP (actually VPAP) and use nasal mask liners to keep air from escaping around the mask. Yes, I do get marks from the straps holding the mask, but within a short time after taking the mask off, they are unnoticeable.

I would encourage anyone to give the CPAP equipment a chance to work or if needed an oral appliance, before you even consider surgery.

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