Sleep apnea has been linked to a number of adverse health effects such as stroke and even depression. Typically a CPAP machine or dental appliance in conjunction with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise are used to treat sleep apnea. Despite the proven effectiveness in treating sleep apnea, some people have difficulty sticking with CPAP and elect to have surgery to correct their obstructive sleep apnea. Recently, the use of robotic surgery for this procedure has been increasing in popularity, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons before hastily making a decision.
Too Good to Be True?
The procedure, known as TORS (Transoral Robotic Surgery) has only recently been approved by the FDA for the removal of benign tissue around the base of the tongue. While this can offer some relief for sleep apnea sufferers, this procedure has not been approved by the FDA for sleep apnea specifically. This means that claims that TORS is more effective for helping sleep apnea sufferers—or even that it’s effective at all—have not been evaluated by the FDA
TORS is also not covered by health insurance, and the procedure can be very costly. Some types of surgery for obstructive sleep apnea can be covered by health insurance (if done by a human), but usually health insurance companies require the use of CPAP or a dental appliance for three weeks or more before the procedure will be covered.
A Last Resort
While these surgeries can potentially rid you of sleep apnea, there are also a number of risks involved. Plus recovery can be both painful and long. It is important to consult a sleep apnea dentist and sleep doctor and weigh your options before jumping headlong into surgery. You may be surprised by how much CPAP and dental appliances can help you can a restful night of sleep. If you are in the Denver area and are having issues with sleep apnea, Dr. Berry at the TMJ Therapy and Sleep Center of Colorado can help. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment please give us a call at (303) 691-0267.