Sleep Apnea-Postop Precautions

Sleep Apnea-Postop Precautions

Due to your diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea we have recommendations for you in the immediate post-operative period. In order to avoid complications related to sleep apnea please follow the recommendations below for the first 4-5 days following your procedure or while you are on narcotic pain medications.

1) If prescribed, use your CP AP machine during ANY times of sleep including naps. Sleeping is the time where you are at highest risk for obstruction of your breathing.

2) Avoid lying flat on your back. Use a recliner in the semi-sitting position or propped up with pillows on the couch or in bed. You may also lay on your side as long as you do not lay flat. The flat position (supine position) allows your airway to obstruct more easily and should be avoided.

3) Minimize narcotics when possible. Narcotic pain medications (Percocet, Lortab, Vicodin, Dilaudid, morphine, OxyContin, oxycodone, codeine, etc.) have a more pronounced effect in patients with sleep apnea including an increased risk of apnea ( stopped breathing).

Please check with your surgeon first before changing your pain management.

Your surgeon may allow you to use non-narcotic pain medications
(acetaminophen/Tylenol, ibuprofen/Advil, etc.) alone or in combination with your prescribed narcotic pain medications, but check with your surgeon first.

4) Have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours after your procedure. It is important to have someone helping to take care of and check on you during the initial time that you are at home especially while on narcotic pain medications.

If you or someone with you feels that you have breathing difficulty, please call 911 to get help.

Presumptive Sleep Apnea

During the course of your care at our surgery center, it was determined that you may have or be at risk for a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition where your breathing becomes blocked by the soft tissues in your upper airway. This is especially evident when you have anesthesia or sedation.

This condition can lead to other medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, and stroke and can be life threatening, if left untreated.

Common symptoms of this condition include snoring, feeling excessively tired throughout the day, frequent naps and restless and interrupted sleep. Someone may tell you that there are times during your sleep when you stop breathing (apnea).

It is our recommendation that you let your primary care provider know that you may be at risk for this condition because it can be treated to allow you to experience a healthier lifestyle and a safer anesthetic should you need one in the future. Your primary care provider or surgeon may wish for you to see a sleep medicine specialist.

Please let us know if we can answer any questions that you may have.

It was our pleasure taking care of you.