Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), affecting almost 1 billion people worldwide, is primarily treated using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy.
However, only about half of the patients tolerate this form of treatment.
A recent long-term study led by Flinders University has shown the potential benefits of upper airway surgery, specifically Sleep Apnea Multi-Level Surgery (SAMS), in managing moderate to severe OSA, especially in individuals who struggle with CPAP therapy.
The study followed up with 36 out of the initial 48 patients who underwent SAMS – a procedure involving repositioning of the palate along with minimally invasive tongue volume reduction to enhance upper airway flow.
The participants of this study, mainly overweight males with severe OSA, were recruited from six clinical centers across three Australian states.
The study revealed that the patients who underwent SAMS experienced consistent improvement in sleep apnea symptoms up to three years post-surgery.
The benefits included reduced disrupted sleep, daytime drowsiness, and, in some cases, less snoring, contributing to better overall health.
Six months post-surgery, participants experienced approximately a 60% decrease in the frequency of nighttime throat obstructions, as opposed to a 20% decrease in those who remained on medical treatment.
Furthermore, the surgical results remained stable after 2–3 years, quelling concerns about the longevity of the surgery benefits.
This study underscores the potential of surgical intervention as an effective alternative for managing obstructive sleep apnea, especially for those who do not adapt to conventional CPAP treatments.
The effective management of OSA via surgical means could significantly reduce the risk of associated long-term health risks such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, depression, and anxiety.
The observed stability in surgical results over time also suggests a sustainable benefit, potentially improving the quality of life for numerous patients suffering from OSA.
The study’s findings are based on a selective group of participants, mainly consisting of overweight males with severe OSA, limiting the generalization of the results to a broader demographic.
Additionally, some patients reported minor taste and swallow complaints post-surgery, emphasizing the need to weigh the potential benefits against the minor inconveniences associated with the surgical intervention.
The research led by Flinders University accentuates the potential of Sleep Apnea Multi-Level Surgery as an effective alternative to CPAP therapy for managing obstructive sleep apnea.
With consistent improvements observed up to three years post-surgery, this intervention can be considered a viable option, especially for those who struggle with conventional treatments, potentially leading to an
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The research findings can be found in Sleep.
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