CPAP Vs. Surgery
If you have been positively diagnosed as suffering from sleep apnea, your physician (and your insurance provider) will most likely encourage you to try CPAP as your primary treatment option. CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, incorporates a mask and a computerized unit that controls air pressure based on your sleep respiration cycle. At end expiration, when the tissues of your throat and nose generally collapse and cause an apneic event, the CPAP machine blows a puff of air into your nose and/or mouth, insuring that the collapsing tissues remain open until you can take your next inspiration of air.
Although CPAP is considered to be 95% effective in treating OSA, ease-of-use and patient compliance is another matter. In fact, recent studies indicate that only about 40-45% of sleep apneics effectively use CPAP to control their disease. If a patient will not or cannot wear CPAP, he or she becomes a candidate for sleep apnea surgery.