Is surgery the only option for treating sleep apnea or snoring
I do predominantly the line share of sleep apnea surgery in our department. I collaborate closely with the pulmonologists, who are the sleep medicine s. Those are the s that help diagnose and treat sleep apnea, as well. If those patients fail their, their medical or their conservative therapy, that's typically when they get sent to see me for surgical considerations to, to look at potential cures for their apnea. It's not uncommon for me to see a lot of patients for, who come in for snoring complaints and, you know, are wondering whether or not they have sleep apnea. So sleep apnea is condition where you actually stop breathing at night.
Snoring is somewhere on that spectrum, towards the more mild, you know, milder end of that spectrum. But, you know, really the only way to determine if you have sleep apnea, the gold standard of testing, is really getting a sleep study. And that's an overnight, monitored study where patients, you know, sleep in a room that's similar to a hotel room but they're being monitored and they're hooked up, you know, for sound so to speak with different monitors and cables on them. And that's really our best test to diagnose sleep apnea. The treatment for sleep apnea is typically a nonsurgical therapy; something called CPAP,
which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. And it's the patients that don't tolerate their CPAP who end up seeing me for surgical considerations. And there's a number of reasons why patients may not tolerate their CPAP. But there are some surgeries that can be helpful in patients who are not tolerant of their medical therapy. And I offer a variety of surgeries including nasal surgery, a variety of palatal surgeries for the kind of tonsil and soft pallet region and then also a variety of tonguebased procedures, as well. But we typically see a patient back after their procedure in about three weeks to recheck everything, make sure that they're healing okay.
After that, I normally recheck a sleep study in about three months after their surgery, just to give everything a chance to heal and to scar. And we, you know, make further recommendations based on the result of their followup sleep study after their surgery. We're exploring the, a new technology now which is actually a nerve stimulator for sleep apnea. It's an implantable device, very similar to a pacemaker that goes into the patient's chest. And there's an electrode that will actually stimulate the nerve that goes to the tongue to provide the tongue with a little bit of more tone when they're sleeping at night, and thereby eliminating their sleep apnea.
Apnea on the Rails Marks Story
(phone ringing) Hello. Mark, the railroad just called. You're called tonight at 8:00. MARK KRAMER: I got to go. I love you. I'll see you. MARK: My name is Mark Kramer.
I'm a locomotive engineer. I enjoy my work. (train horn honks) I like being out in the countryside. 42, 42. The biggest setback are the hours that we work. We have a very unconventional type of a work schedule. When I get a call any time, day or night,
I have one hour and 30 minutes to get to the terminal where I work. It can be very difficult at times. Looks like our first Form B's at the river bridge. MAN: Okay. MARK: You know you're going to work at night. You know it's going to be hard to stay awake. Five times out, we should get out on our rest.
MARK: For me it can be more difficult because I have sleep apnea. STUART QUAN: Sleep apnea is a condition where a person is unable to get air into their lungs when they fall asleep. The tongue relaxes and falls back against the back of the throat and blocks off the airway. All of a sudden
you would just almost sound like you were choking. You'd come to an abrupt stop. And I would do that quite often. The brain realizes that the person is not breathing. It wakes up just briefly and then the person is able to get the tongue out of the way and able to get air in and out. Changing channels, Fred.
QUAN: This causes fragmentation in your sleep and causes the person to be sleepy and tired during the daytime. It's very painful to try to stay awake without any rest. ATUL MALHOTRA: Some of the more serious complications of sleep apnea: lack of alertness, lack of concentration, lack of focus. There's about a sevenfold increased risk