Study: Surgery offers relief for some with sleep apnea

A new study says surgery may help the hundreds, if not thousands, of local residents suffering from sleep apnea.

The American College of Chest Physicians says surgery is successful for 25 percent to 33 percent of patients. People with sleep apnea stop breathing hundreds of times during the night.

The surgery involves cutting away part of the soft palate or the tissue at the back of the throat.

Dr. Andrew Parker, of Associates of Ear, Nose and Throat in Norwalk, says it is important to get treatment for sleep apnea and stresses surgery is not a cure-all for sleep problems.

Another common treatment is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP. Air pressure is put in through the nose and mouth to elevate the palate when the person sleeps either using a mask or special pillow. This enables the patient to breath better.

Parker recommends possibly undergoing surgery if CPAP doesn?t work. He says the surgery usually involves two weeks of a sore throat and soft food diet.

Parker stresses there can be complications with the surgery that can leave the patient with long-term problems speaking or swallowing.

Related Information:American Sleep Apnea Association

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