Sleep Apnea and Surgery Risks

By on October 22, 2013

Sleep Apnea and Surgery RisksBleeding, infection and mucus in throat are most common sleep apnea ad surgery risks. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by recurring episodes of apnea and decreased inspiratory airflow caused by upper air passage blockage during night sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea may develop in anyone at any age but most often occurs in those who are obese, male, smoker and age 40 and older. Sleep apnea is generally associated with disturbed sleep, fatigue, snoring and daytime drowsiness.

If you are thinking about having surgery to treat sleep apnea, talk with your doctor about your surgery options. Surgery for OSA is usually targeted at increasing the size of airway dimensions as well as reducing the collapsibility of the respiratory tract.

Different surgical procedures may be suggested for severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea, but there is limited evidence for their success. There are risks associated with Sleep Apnea surgery.

Here are the Surgical Risks of Sleep Apnea:

Individuals with OSA who are undergoing surgical procedures require anesthesia, sedation and analgesia are at higher risk for per-procedural complications than sufferers who do not have OSA. The procedure also has several potentially serious complications including:

  • Perioperative medications: Perioperative medications like sedatives, general anesthetic agents, narcotic analgesics, may cause collapsing of recurring upper air passages in patients who had surgical procedure.
  • Bleeding: One of common sleep apnea and surgery risks is bleeding. About 2-4% patients experience bleeding after OSA surgery. You need to notify your surgeon immediately, if the bleeding is severe.
  • Infection: This is another one of the most common sleep apnea and surgery risks. Patient typically receives antibiotics during the time of surgery to decrease the risk of infection and reduce swelling.
  • Mucus in the throat: Mucus in the throat is often the side effect of obstructive sleep apnea surgery. This is a rare problem where there is a small opening between the palate and nose while swallowing, thus producing a small amount of saliva to regurgitate into the nose.
  • Change in voice frequency: Surgical procedure for treating snoring and OSA alter the anatomical structure of the upper air tract and also the resonance features of the vocal tract which in turn cause a modification in voice quality.
  • Impaired function in the soft palate and muscle of the throat: Impaired function in the soft palate and muscle of the throat, this can be difficult if you take in fluids. These liquids will move into the airways, which is referred as velopharygeal insufficiency.
  • Continued snoring: Another one of the sleep apnea and surgery risks is continued snoring. Many patients undergoing surgical treatment will have loud snoring. But, many patients will continue to snore at some level, even after surgery that eliminates snoring completely.
  • Impaired sense of smell: A few patients may experience impaired sense of smell, which is the partial or total loss of the sense of smell. If you lose your sense of smell, you need to seek your doctor’s assistance immediately.
  • Difficulty in Swallowing: Difficulty swallowing is common after some types of sleep apnea surgery. The patient often reports a sticking feeling in the lower part of the throat or the upper chest.

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