Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder caused by the tissues in the mouth and throat collapsing into the airway, causing symptoms such as loud snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, abrupt awakenings, excessive daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, headache, trouble concentrating and mood changes.
While OSA is frequently treated with lifestyle changes and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, sometimes surgery is necessary. We review how to prepare for and recovery from sleep apnea surgery below.
Here is a list of considerations when preparing for sleep apnea surgery:
- Smoking: It’s been shown that smoking cigarettes has a negative effect on surgical outcomes, and that quitting can reduce the risk of complications. We recommend quitting smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery.
- Clothing: Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing to the hospital or surgical center. Be sure to leave jewelry and watches at home. If you normally wear contacts, wear your glasses instead.
- Eating and drinking: Don’t eat or drink anything within 12 hours of surgery, or else reflux from your stomach can enter the lungs during the procedure. If you have to take medication the day of surgery, do so with a very small sip of water. If you have diabetes and need to manage your blood sugar, talk to your doctor about when you can safely eat.
- Medications: Your doctor may tell you to stop taking blood thinners for several days leading up to surgery. Be sure to review the complete list of medications and supplements you take with your doctor during your consultation so they can advise you on what to take and what to stop.
- Ride home: You won’t be able to drive yourself home from surgery, so be sure to bring someone who can take you home after.
How to Care for Yourself During Recovery
Here is a look at how you can care for yourself during recovery from sleep apnea surgery:
- Monitoring: Ask a responsible adult to watch over you for at least 24 hours after your surgery.
- Sleeping: Sleep with your head elevated for the first day and night.
- Pain: Take over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers as recommended by your doctor.
- Constipation: Some pain medications cause constipation. To manage symptoms, be sure to drink plenty of water, take stool softeners and eat high fiber fruits and vegetables from Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market.
- Swelling: To manage swelling, apply ice packs to the face and neck.
- When to contact your doctor: Be sure to contact your doctor if you experience foul-smelling or yellow drainage, extreme pain, bleeding or fever.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.