RE: Up3 recovery
I thought I would relate my experience with UPPP surgery.
First, a little history:
I was diagnosed with moderate to severe OSA in the late 90's. I tried CPAP at that time and after a year I could not adjust to it. It caused severe claustrophobia and different masks would not resolve the problem. On nights when I did manage to keep the mask on without a panic attack, I was waking every hour because of the mask making is impossible to sleep (I am a side sleeper). I let 10 years go by before a pulmonary doctor insisted I get another sleep study and try CPAP again. I tried very hard to adjust to the several different full face masks that were tried (had a deviated septum and am a chronic mouth breather so nasal masks were not an option), but I could not make CPAP work and finally consulted an ENT recommended by several of my doctors. On the day I saw the ENT, I saw one other doctor, a dentist and dental hygienist and all of them commented on the very large size of my tonsils. When the ENT said the same thing, I realized that I needed to do something to help me get a decent amount of sleep so my health could improve. That was when I decided that I needed to have the UPPP surgery. I went into the surgery knowing that it would not cure my apnea, but I felt that it was the best choice for me to get improved sleep and improved health.
On March 26, 2012 I had UPPP, tonsilectomy, septoplasty, turbinate reduction and balloon sinuplasty. I stayed in the hospital overnight and the packing was removed from my nose before I was discharged. I remember waking in the recovery room feeling like I could finally take a big breath, which was something I never felt I could do pre surgery. Once the packing was removed and my nose stopped draining(a couple of days), I could breathe well through it as well.
My recovery and pain levels mirror those of others. I had the most pain from days 3-6. Nothing above a pain level of 7 though and percocet kept the pain down. Some itching happened as the scabs were falling off. I had a couple of stubborn stitches that the ENT had to manually remove after a few weeks. Not much bleeding at all, except for a couple of days from my nose. I did have to be more deliberate when I swallowed at first or things would wind up going up my nose (blue jello coming out of your nose is always good for a few laughs), but once I hit the 3 week mark, I was able to eat most foods except things that were very hard or sharp. Eleven months later, I still seem to get a slight burning in the area of the shaved soft palate when I eat spicy foods, but it is nothing that bothers me that much because I am partial to more bland foods anyway. I have some drainage down my throat, but most of that is attributed to my food and inhaled allergies causing post nasal drip.
I recommend that anyone who has this surgery have a cool mist humidifier in the room with them at all times. Staying hydrated is extremely important. I would notice much more pain when I forgot to keep drinking fluids. The first night in the hospital I was given my oral medications crushed into some applesauce and it went down very easily. Plain applesauce became my go to food when I was having pain.
I had a sleep study done 2 months post surgery. My pre and post results are as follows:
post 6 (the ENT thought 5 would be better, but he left it at 6)
Lowset % O2 saturation
post 87% (I am a chronic asthmatic with some lung damage, so I expected this)
I was told by my ENT that I do not absolutely have to use CPAP anymore, but my pulmonary doctor wanted me to keep trying because of some other health issues like pulmonary hypertension, which has already improved somewhat post surgery. When the CPAP caused severe pressure in both ears with pain and hearing loss that did not ease for days(without using CPAP those days), the pulmonary doc recommend I get an oral appliance.
As for my sleeping, starting immediately post surgery I was able to sleep without snoring (according to my husband). I am dreaming and even remembering my vivid dreams. I used to wake every 2-3 hours to use the bathroom pre-surgery and never remembered dreaming.
I recommend this surgery, but only after one has tried to adjust to CPAP for a while. Consult with several doctors before deciding on the surgery and get a 2nd or even 3rd opinion if you still have questions.
I welcome questions, so feel free to ask them.
I now use a Respire pink series oral appliance for my apnea rather than CPAP because once everything was opened up for me, I had severe ear pain from the CPAP pressure. I have found the oral appliance to be very tolerable and so far am pleased with the results. I sleep deeply now, do not wake every couple of hours and find I have more energy. The good sleeping started after my surgery, but it is getting even better now with the appliance. I found a dentist who is board certified in dental sleep medicine and who also treats TMJ and other orofacial pain, so I am confident I have found the person who is best able to treat my apnea without causing me more problems.
Do not go into surgery believing it will cure your apnea, because that is not the case for most people, but it can make a big difference in your quality of life even if some apnea remains.