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jcs007's avatar

Have any Flutherites had successful surgery for obstructive sleep apnea?

Asked by jcs007 (1773points) June 11th, 2008

I just found out that I have obstructive sleep apnea. Since I’m only 20, the doctor said that I would recover quickly from surgery. I’m really not looking forward to wearing a mask every night nor a mouthpiece. Even though my doctor said that surgery has a 50–60% success rate, I really want to know if anyone out there knows of someone who overcame their obstructive sleep apnea with surgery.

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8 Answers

srmorgan's avatar

Look I have been using the mask and C-PAP for almost 15 years and it has made a real difference in my life, no falling asleep on the freeway, or in meetings or snoring so loudly that my lovely wife could not get any sleep.

I can understand why the prospect of sixty years of wearing a mask might be a little discouraging, I started wearing it at the ripe old age of 44 and I will be 59 just before Labor Day. Maybe circumstances are a little difference.
I really don’t find it to be an issue.
I bought a very small machine about two years ago because I was traveling on business once a month or so and a bigger machine can be a bitch to carry around even in a suit case with wheels.

The only problem with surgery is that it is probably irreversible and on the slight chance that something goes wrong or you don’t like the result, you are going to be stuck with it for the next 65 years.
Just my opinion. Your physician probably knows more about this than I do but it’s food for thought.


Notreallyhere's avatar

I know someone that got it done: 80% improvement. He recomends it.

kevbo's avatar

@SRM, what model do you have?

Here’s my two cents:

I’ve not heard enough good things about surgery to believe that they’ve figured it out yet. The tech who did my sleep study had the surgery, and he said it worsened his problem. I think it’s worth it for you to try to find someone who has been successfully treated with surgery, though.

The other thing is just some (unasked for) perspective from a 35 year old who has dealt with a couple of chronic illnesses since around age 19 or so (and sleep apnea for a few years). Just do the treatment (i.e. wear the mask). Be aggressive about it and embrace it. It may seem like a royal pain in the ass, but the truth is (aside from the health consequences of not doing it) that not treating it will on a daily basis weigh like an anchor on your happiness and potential. And, it will continue to do so until you finally some day break down and accept it as a reality. Hopefully, the improved quality of your sleep will be enough to convince you.

One other anecdote. I have a friend who is skinny as a rail and has obstructive sleep apnea. She couldn’t tolerate the mask and in the process of negotiating this with her doctor, it came to light that her symptoms were greatly diminished when she was lying on her side. So, she decided to create a super tight fitting sleeping shirt with a pocket on the back that holds a giant styrofoam ball. So you may have other options.

srmorgan's avatar


It is a REMSTAR Plus M series. It’s not very big, it’s a little late here on the east coast and I don’t care to measure it at the moment. Of course traveling with the tubing is a pain that can not be avoided no matter how small the unit might be. One thing that I don’t like it that the unit came with a “brick” transformer on the power cord which added a little more wieight than I expected, but it’s manageable. My job responsibilities changed last fall and I have not been on a plane since last August and given the state of air travel at the moment, I am real happy about not flying.

About eight years ago I started seeing a new physician for something other than the sleep apnea.
I mentioned that I would be going to Europe for ten days on business and he casually asked me if I was taking the C-PAP with me. I had never done this previously and I was going to Europe for at least a week twice a year at that point..

He went ballistic: how many irreplaceable brain cells are you losing when you are not breathing when you are in bed? Your sleep study showed you waking 200 times in six hours, what do you think happens when you sleep without the gizmo?

I took the machine that year and have done so every year.

One last point
@Notreallyhere – statistics in medicine must viewed differently than any other context.
In 1979 my 51 year old mother found a “lump”. It turned out to be malignant.
The oncologist told us (my mother, my dad and me) that they were getting very skillful with breast cancer and that 50% of women diagnosed at that time with breast cancer would live over 5 years.

What was unsaid is that 50% did not make it. My mother had the mastectomy in July of 1979 and died in June of 1982. She was 54.

There’s always a risk when the surgeon pulls out the scalpel. On the other hand the C-PAP and the mask can be removed in about 5 seconds when you wake up.


Notreallyhere's avatar

That’s why they say in every drug comercial that individual results vary

pattyb's avatar

as a cpap user I will not wear the mask, but I do not mind the nose pillows. Yes it took months to get used to, but I am at tje point where I can not sleep without it. I have thought about the surgery, but I do not like the odds of a failure. I have also read that it can be very painful and long recovery. I would love to hear first hand from someone who has had the surgery re itca success or failure.

hearkat's avatar

I work in an ENT office, and the newest option available is called a Pillar procedure. It’s a supportive implant placed in the soft tissues so they don’t collapse while you sleep. One of my coworkers had it done, and was pleased with the results. One drawback is that most insurance doesn’t cover it.

I just Googled it, and the manufacturer’s website is

and you can research more at

Good luck with whatever you choose!

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