According to an article on ESPN Boston, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli will undergo surgery in early November to treat his sleep apnea.
The decision is yet another call to action for public discourse on the seriousness of
sleep apnea and the ongoing struggle roughly 18 million Americans have
with this potentially life threatening disorder, characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.
The procedure Napoli will undergo is called bimaxillary advancement surgery, which separates the
front portions of the lower and upper jaw and moves them forward to allow more room behind the tongue, reducing the chances of obstruction.
Carol Ash, DO, Director of Sleep Medicine for Meridian Health, had this to say during a recent interview with CBS This Morning:
"When we go to sleep at night, our muscles lose tone and our airways
start to narrow. This is true of all of us, but we can continue to
"But in people with sleep apnea, when they lose that muscle
tone, their airway collapses all the way down. Airflow is
compromised and oxygen can't get in."
Bimaxillary advancement surgery is just one of a range of treatment options used to treat sleep apnea, which include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
CPAP utilizes an air splint,
which blows air to the back of the throat, splinting the airway open so
it can't collapse.
During the interview, Dr. Ash discussed another potentially game changing advancement in sleep technology, currently awaiting FDA approval, called a pulse
generator. By sensing the body's effort to breathe, the device stimulates nerves in the neck contriving the muscles that keep the airway open.
"When you look at the range sleep disorders, and how we are just not getting enough sleep,
this is the biggest public health issue facing society today," Ash says.