Did you know that certain surgical procedures can impact your sleep quality? Unless you are having surgery to address a sleep problem, you probably don’t expect to experience any change in your sleep patterns down the road.
If anything, you may expect to sleep better as a result of surgery. Unfortunately, some medical procedures can worsen or cause a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated breathing pauses. Individuals with sleep apnea experience breathing obstruction during sleep, often as a result of relaxed mouth muscles.
Poor muscle tone, alcohol and sleeping aids can relax mouth muscles, and increase the likelihood for snoring and airway obstruction.
A hysterectomy is a procedure that removes part or all of the uterus. Women undergo a hysterectomy for a variety of reasons, including uterine fibroids, endometriosis and cancer.
Removal of the ovaries during a hysterectomy can induce surgical menopause, which brings the production of estrogen and progesterone to a screeching halt.
The cessation of these two hormones frequently spurs sleep problems. Also, the drop in progesterone can weaken tongue and upper airway muscles, increasing the likelihood for airway obstruction during sleep.
Rhinoplasty, also known as a nose job, is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures.
Patients undergo rhinoplasty for a variety of reasons, including:
- Reducing the size of the nose
- Narrowing the opening of nostrils
- Correcting a birth defect
- Changing the shape of the nasal bridge
- Improving breathing
While rhinoplasty can help some patients with sleep apnea breath better, it can have the opposite effect for others.
Depending on what a patient has done, rhinoplasty can increase the likelihood for breathing difficulties.
The procedure may remove and weaken cartilage that prevents your nostrils from collapsing inward, which can lead to airway obstruction when you are lying down.
3. Thyroglossal Duct Cyst Removal
Also known as a Sistrunk procedure, this procedure involves the removal of a cyst from the thyroid. The cyst presents as a painless lump on the neck region and increases in size over time.
The procedure to remove the cyst requires the removal of part of the hyoid bone, which sits on top of the voice box.
The removal of this piece can weaken the attachments to the tongue and voice box, causing future breathing obstruction.
Individuals who undergo this procedure may want to have this bone tissue reconstructed to prevent future breathing problems.
4. Breast Implants
Many women undergo breast implantation to enhance their appearance and improve their self-esteem. After surgery, your doctor will likely recommend sleeping on your back for several weeks to aid healing.
Sleeping on your back increases the likelihood for both snoring and airway obstruction. For someone with sleep apnea, this may cause an increase in apnea episodes.
Before you undergo any medical procedure, speak to your doctor and sleep specialist about the potential impact on your sleep apnea symptoms. Ask about ways to minimize the risk of sleep problems after surgery.
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