Even for surgeons, self-surgery is rarely advisable. But a Chinese doctor grew so tired of the effects of his chronic snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that he decided to perform a surgical procedure on himself.
Now, months after the sleep apnea operation, the doctor has deemed it a success.
Sleep Apnea and Surgery
The doctor in question believed his years of snoring were the result of obstructive sleep apnea, a common—and potentially dangerous—condition in which a person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep due to an obstructed airway.
The Chinese physician performed an experimental surgery on his tongue to keep his tongue from collapsing into the rear of his throat during sleep. He recently said the procedure effectively reduced snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea, while not interfering with speaking, eating and other normal functions.
Surgical treatment for sleep apnea is rarely necessary or recommended. Many people are able to eliminate snoring and restore healthy, restful sleep with the use of a custom oral appliance designed to help you maintain an open air passage as you sleep. Those with severe forms of sleep apnea may benefit from the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device.
Sleep Apnea Complications
Without treatment, sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk for serious medical complications that include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Atrial fibrillation (abnormally fast heart rate)
- Congestive heart failure
- Liver problems
While sleep apnea can affect anyone regardless of age or gender, those who are overweight are especially vulnerable to developing sleep apnea. Smoking and the regular use of alcohol or sedatives can also heighten your risk for sleep apnea.
When to See a Doctor about Sleep Apnea
Although sleep apnea poses health risks, it is treatable. You should see your dentist or family physician if you or a loved one suffers from recurring snoring accompanied by other symptoms that may include:
- Frequent daytime drowsiness
- Regular, abrupt awakenings during the night
- Waking with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Difficulty remaining asleep for extended periods
- Problems concentrating while awake
- Morning headaches
Austin, Texas, dentist Dr. Dan Matthews has extensive success helping patients (and their sleeping partners) treat snoring and sleep apnea, and restore peaceful sleep, with the use of comfortable, custom-made oral devices. To learn more about sleep apnea treatment or schedule your consultation, please contact Dr. Matthews online or call our dental office at 512-452-2273.