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AirLift Surgery
#1
Question 
AirLift Surgery
I have been looking at surgical solutions for my apnea. Right now I am on CPAP at 20cm. My latest work study tells me that I need BiPAP. Though there are a number of procedures now which seem to help, they are fairly expensive, especially for a Canadian as they are not offered here.

One surgery looks to me like it would work without a huge expense. It is called AirLift

I wrote Siesta Medical, the company which developed it. They told me that it can be done for about $6000 USD. This is about the cost of 2 BiPAPs which would last 12 years or so where the procedure is good forever. They also said that the patient's weight is not usually a deciding factor. This information along with the site and video makes it look too good to be true.

Does anyone have experience with this type of surgery or other hyoid suspension procedures?
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#2
RE: AirLift Surgery
I cannot speak to this specific type of surgery. But all surgeries to solve sleep apnea have had a bad track record in the long term. Meaning if they do work, the results are usually not great and most people revert back to where they were before, after the body has healed itself.

It would be a better choice to post your results here using Sleepyhead software (see my signature line) and you can get advice on how to optimize your results. That would be the better choice, in my opinion.

You will need 5 posts before you can post Imgur links or you can put a space in the address of the link.
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#3
RE: AirLift Surgery
We don't know what your issues are that have taken you to 20 cm, but you're correct a bilevel would be far more comfortable at those pressures, and arguably medically necessary. If you feel you have exhausted reasonable solutions to get your health system to help you, there are equipment suppliers in the U.S. that ship internationally, and of course if you have friend or dropbox, you can get what you want off Amazon.

Check out Supplier #2 for some good deals on new and lightly used bilevel machines. They have shipped around the world at reasonable extra cost.
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#4
RE: AirLift Surgery
Hi Sean Turvey,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Hang in there for more responses to your post.
Good luck to you with CPAP therapy and also with your decision to have surgery.
trish6hundred
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#5
RE: AirLift Surgery
There was one member here whose wife had several surgeries including, I think, stomach surgery to lose weight. The surgeries worked, for a while. She ended back on CPAP although at much lower pressures than before. We don't get many success stories here, primarily because we are a CPAP forum and strongly (often obnoxiously) push those over any other treatment.

I have a narrow throat and mouth. If my pressure were to need to go over 20, I might maybe perhaps consider a surgery to make it wider. I sometimes have trouble swallowing and choke. But since it affects only sleep apnea at this point, I'm not even doing research on it. If I had to pay out of pocket for either a bilevel or surgery, I'd chose the bilevel because I KNOW without a doubt that it works.
PaulaO

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#6
RE: AirLift Surgery
From what I can tell after reading quite a bit, there could be several different anatomical reasons for a person to have sleep apnea. I'm betting it's hard even for docs to know exactly what's causing it in a given person. That might go a long way to accounting for the reality that many surgeries don't work out.

It looks like the AirLift really only addresses one cause. That would worry me were I the OSA patient.

Many OSA surgeries work well at first, but the improvements don't last. I'd want to know what the success rate is (per peer reviewed study) and evidence-based longevity for the procedure.

$6k? That has me worried too. It's not a lot of money for a surgery with major impact. It's actually not a lot of money for any kind of surgery.
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#7
RE: AirLift Surgery
I'm with PaulaO2.
My pressures are close to the limit. If it comes to that time I'll try surgery. But only as a last resort and only to make BIPAP treatment effective again.
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#8
RE: AirLift Surgery
And is that $6000 including everything or just the surgeon?
PaulaO

Take a deep breath and count to zen.




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#9
RE: AirLift Surgery
This looks very similar to a technique used in CPR. When I was trained in CPR, I was taught to lift the chin using my fingers. This AirLift implant seems to be a device that does that. However, I was also taught to roll the head backward slightly to further enable the airway to be as open as possible. I don't see how this procedure with an implant(s) is going to help any more than the other surgeries. My dad had the laryngo-palette-tonsillecto-lobotomy (you all know what I'm talking about) and he suffered many more years of OSA post-op. He is now on CPAP. A terrible side effect of the aforementioned (name butchered) surgery is that he chokes on nearly everything that he eats!
I would like to add that my primary doctor (he's a true good doctor) explained to me that the above procedure is not widely performed anymore because the results were not good over a broad range of people (victims). He told me that if I went on CPAP that I would likely stay on it forever, and that if I elected to have surgery it would be a tongue trimming and broken and reset jaw. He said that he would never recommend it to me either. He said he guaranteed that CPAP would fix me up, the guy was right. Therefore, I don't believe I would ever suggest surgery to anyone. Getting the right machine, mask, and support from the people here is what I believe is the best option.

I know someone will correct and educate me if I speak incorrectly. I welcome criticism.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) with tonsillectomy and a couple other changes to his mouth/throat anatomy
Jesse


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#10
RE: AirLift Surgery
One more thing. Upon further reading, I discovered that this AirLift treatment is used in conjunction with UPPP to get a 60-65% reduction in AHI where the website also states that CPAP gets 66% reduction of AHI. I can post a link if it you all would like
Jesse


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