CPAP machines tend to be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of sleep apnea treatments.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. You may have an image in your mind of a person sleeping hooked up to a hose and mask. The CPAP machine pushes a steady stream of air through the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep. CPAP machines can be very effective in helping people sleep better and enjoy a healthier, happier quality of life.
The problem with CPAP machines is that they can be difficult to sleep with. They can also cause irritations in the mouth and throat, and while they may help with symptoms of sleep apnea, they don’t necessarily address the underlying causes. CPAP isn’t exactly attractive in the bedroom either.
That’s where surgery can sometimes be a better and more permanent solution.
An appropriate surgery can correct or remove the obstruction or muscle issue that causes sleep apnea in the first place. In many cases people will try to use the CPAP machine first, but if they can’t tolerate it or the cause of their sleep apnea can’t be resolved with the machine, surgery becomes an option. In other cases, people may need surgery to make the CPAP machine more effective. And finally, some people just don’t want to have a CPAP machine and prefer surgery as the first choice. This is especially true for people who snore but don’t have sleep apnea.
Surgery doesn’t have to be especially difficult or invasive. Many effective surgeries can be performed quickly as outpatient procedures with very manageable recovery times and processes. Other procedures are more complex, depending on the patient’s anatomy and circumstances, but may ultimately be the better alternative to a CPAP machine to achieve a long lasting better sleep.
The only way to know for sure how best to treat your sleep apnea is to see a sleep specialist for an examination and diagnosis. If you’re struggling with a CPAP machine or have questions about either using a CPAP machine or surgery as an alternative to using one, contact Dr. Rotenberg to set up a consultation.