AIRLIFT Procedure

7 different masks

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in May of 2019. During my sleep study, I only slept about 3 hours. While I was never fitted with a mask, I got my continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine from a local medical supply company which allowed me to try several masks. For the next 5 months, I tried 7 different masks all of which leaked and slipped off. All these masks were tried on while I was sitting. There wasn’t any place to lie down. During this time, I slept less with the CPAP than I did before I had it. I spent more time adjusting the mask than I did sleeping.

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The respiratory therapist I worked with finally told me they had no more masks for me to try and if I found one that I thought might work they would order it for me. To say the least, I was very frustrated, and my physician listed me as "non-compliant," which really angered me. Then, I saw an ad on Facebook about an AIRLIFT procedure for sleep apnea. I researched and felt it made sense for me.

AIRLIFT procedure

During the procedure, they suspend the tongue and hyoid bone, which prevents the tongue from falling back and blocking the airway. Only 2 surgeons in Wisconsin did this surgery and both were 3 hours away. Fortunately, my daughter worked with one of the surgeons and he felt I was a good candidate for the procedure. So, in May 2020 - at the height of COVID-19 - I had the surgery. It was an easy recovery. I did have some speech problems but this was resolved in a few days.

After recovery, I took a home sleep study, I had 9 hypoxia episodes compared to 32 apneic episodes on the first sleep study. Based on the numbers surgery was considered successful. I am so glad I had this surgery. If you'd like more information, search the internet for "AIRLIFT sleep apnea treatment." The site is very informative and will give a list of surgeons who do this surgery in your state. Good luck everyone!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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