How to Prepare for Sleep Apnea Surgery
by Dr. Scott Bolding
How to Prepare for Sleep Apnea Surgery
Being prepared for sleep apnea surgery will make everything go more smoothly. Take some time in the weeks and days before your surgery date to gather as much information as possible and anything you might need for that day.
As you’re preparing it’s important to remember that there are several types of sleep apnea surgery. Each procedure will have its own unique things that you need to do in order to be prepared. However, there are some things you can do that will help you feel confident going into any procedure.
Sleep Better Today
It’s time to get the sleep you deserve. You don’t have to keep on living with the constant daytime sleepiness and other effects of sleep apnea. Schedule a consultation with our sleep apnea specialists today and start getting your life back.
Before your surgery date, you should ask your surgeon as many questions as possible. Even silly questions will help you feel more at ease. Be honest with your surgeon about any concerns or hesitations you have. Take notes during these conversations to look back at things you may have forgotten. Your surgeon wants you to be as comfortable as possible going into your surgery date, so they will be more than happy to answer your questions and point you to other resources.
Make Arrangements for After Your Procedure
The most helpful thing you can do to be prepared for sleep apnea surgery is to make arrangements for anything you need afterward. For procedures that require anesthesia, you will need to have a responsible adult drive you home and stay with you while it wears off. If you are getting MMA surgery, you will need to be on a soft food diet for a little while, so you should gather any food before your procedure. Fill any medications or prescriptions that you will need as well.
For most procedures, you should be able to return to work or school after a week or two. You may want to work something out with your employer or school so you can work from home while you recover, if possible.
One of the keys to a successful surgery is how you take care of yourself beforehand. The healthier you are before surgery, the better things will go. This means you may need to make certain lifestyle changes in the months and weeks before your sleep apnea surgery date. These changes include:
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight
- Stop using certain vitamins and medications
As difficult as it may be, you will need to stop smoking several weeks before your surgery date.
Smoking can lead to several complications during surgery. It decreases blood flow which can impact how your surgical wounds heal. The damage smoking does to your lungs also affects how well your body heals since oxygen is essential to healing well.
Other complications caused by smoking include:
- Increased risk of developing blood clots
- Risk of infection
- Problems with anesthesia
- May develop pneumonia
Losing weight and adopting a healthy lifestyle will also decrease complications during sleep apnea surgery. Like smoking, it can be difficult to lose weight in time for your surgery, but the more you can lose the more successful your procedure will be.
Similar to smoking, excess weight can lead to complications with anesthesia, wound healing, and puts you at greater risk of a heart attack. Some studies have shown that even losing 10% of your total body weight before surgery can improve the chances your surgery will be a success.
Excess weight is also a common cause of sleep apnea. So, if you lose weight before you get surgery you will increase your chances of long-term success.
Stop Using Certain Medications
You will also need to avoid using NSAIDS (like ibuprofen), aspirin, vitamins, and herbal supplements before and after surgery. These are blood thinners that can increase your risk of excess bleeding during surgery. It’s important to stop taking any of these medications at least 10 days before your procedure.
What to Expect During Sleep Apnea Surgery
The exact details of what to expect during sleep apnea surgery will depend on the type of surgery you’re getting. But there are a few general things you can expect. Knowing this information ahead of time will help reduce any anxiety you may have.
Arriving for Your Surgery
Minor procedures will be performed in a procedure room in the clinic. Other procedures like MMA surgery of UPPP will likely be performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. When you arrive for your surgery you will need to have any paperwork ready. Then, you will meet with the surgeon and anesthesiologist. They will go over the procedure with you and ask some questions about your health.
We encourage you to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Avoid wearing jewelry or makeup. It’s usually recommended that you don’t wear contacts during surgery as well.
You will get an IV before the procedure begins. After the IV is set anesthesia will be administered. Then, a breathing tube will be placed and connected to a ventilator. Once you are asleep, you will be transferred to the operating table and the surgeon will begin working.
How long your surgery will take depends on how invasive it is. Most surgeries can last 45 minutes to several hours. Procedures like MMA surgery will take longer.
Immediately After Sleep Apnea Surgery
You will usually be able to go home on the day of your surgery. However, for procedures like MMA, you may need to be monitored overnight. You will need a responsible adult to drive you home and stay with you as the anesthesia wears off. Recovery time for sleep apnea surgery will be several months, however, you should be able to return to work shortly after you get home.
Helping Your Sleep Apnea Surgery Go Well
When you’ve made the decision to move forward with sleep apnea surgery, knowing what to expect can help you feel confident about your decision. The more can you do to prepare for surgery, the more successful it will be.