Tell us about your history with sleep apnea and other treatments you tried.
- I wore a CPAP for 6 years. After turning 65 it ceased to be effective. The sleep deprivation was causing hallucinations and serious heart palpitations at night and trips to ER thinking I was having a heart attack. I tried an oral appliance custom made from a Sleep Apnea Dentist. It was expensive and did not work. After four months of dealing with a mouth full of metal which was starting to cause me to bite my lips and tongue during speech, sore teeth and jaw aches throughout the day and night, I threw in the towel. I decided surgery was the answer. Other physicians I saw offered no remedy except UPPP Surgery and they claimed sketchy results. With this advice, my online research and interviews with others, all told me told me the same thing…that surgical procedures such as UPPP and other soft palate procedures are painful and only moderately successful, if at all. Not true with AIRLIFT. I discovered an article about the AIRLIFT Hyoid Suspension procedure which is a simple operation and that actually opens up the throat behind the tongue.
I called a representative at Siesta Medical, the company that makes the AIRLIFT
He explained in great length how and why it works to open the airway. He suggested 3 physicians that had experience with the AIRLIFT and related procedures for severe OSA. I called all three and the doctor in Kansas City, MO was the only one that would talk about it over the phone and explain what had to be done in a clear and concise manner. The office endorsed the AIRLIFT and was very happy with previous results with it. I was elated. Finally…a better and easy surgical procedure that improves breathing, about 70% in my case. After the sleep study which I had already had, the doctor needed to diagnose the level of obstruction. He scoped my throat under sedated sleep, with and without the oral appliance. He recorded the results which showed, among other issues a complete concentric collapse at the level of the velopharynx, with and without the oral appliance. I could go on with a lot of fancy medical terms but suffice it to say there were a number of obstructive areas in my throat and mouth, that no oral appliance could never have cured.
What made you consider the AIRLIFT procedure?
- It’s simplicity in its design, and according to the doctor, it’s effectiveness. He was right.
10 days after the procedure I was sleeping very well. It was the greatest thing I have experienced in the 3 years I spent researching doctors and sleep apnea surgical procedures. I never knew a good night’s sleep could cure so many other ailments.
This is a simple fix that unlike other procedures, actually opens the throat with a few very simplistic elements. That said, you may require a couple of other surgical tweaks, which is done at the same time as was in my case. But the AIRLIFT is a life saver.
How would you describe the surgical experience, procedure and recovery? Did you have other procedures along with AIRLIFT?
- The procedure is actually called “expansion sphincter palatoplasty modification of a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) with hyomandibular suspension (AIRLIFT). In common terms they reconstructed the back of my throat and mouth for easier breathing and implanted the AIRLIFT hyoid suspension system beneath the jaw and tongue level to open the airway. The results were amazing. After 10 days I was sleeping without the mask. I had quit the oral device as well. Yes, its painful but that subsided for me with pain medication in about 10 days.
Do you believe this surgery has been effective for you? If so, in what ways and how soon could you tell after the surgery that it was working?
- Yes …very successful. A few days after surgery I begin to notice big difference.
It’s been three months and sometimes I sleep with the mask because I like the way it works for me now and sometimes, I don’t use it at all. I am so grateful for the doctor and AIRLIFT.
What advice would you give to others about surgery that have sleep apnea and can’t use CPAP or other treatments?
- My advice to anyone who has Sleep Apnea is this:
Get an airway diagnosis under induced sleep from a board-certified ENT surgeon who understands OSA, so you KNOW what to treat. You’ll have a clear picture of the obstructive areas. It’s quick, it’s done on an outpatient basis, insurance covers it, if you don’t have insurance most doctors/ hospitals will work out a payment plan.
After my actual surgery I spent one night in the hospital. The scope/diagnosis was done on an outpatient basis prior to the surgery. Don’t do like I did and just jump into a treatment plan without knowing the extent of your problem.
Do your homework on the physician because most won’t know what’s out there and only provide partial treatment. Snoring and OSA can cause heart attacks and stroke because the body isn’t getting the appropriate amount of oxygen. Over time OSA is a ticking time bomb.
No pillow, mattress, tongue holding devices, or oral appliances are going to cure OSA/snoring in the long run. Why no one told me to get a REAL diagnosis (not just a sleep study) is beyond me. How can you provide an effective treatment plan if you don’t know what’s going on down there your airway?
I suffered for years getting insufficient advice, until I found AIRLIFT. It’s a game changer.