The Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center—a pioneer in robotic surgery—now offers the procedure to patients with sleep apnea, whose obstructive breathing prevents them from sleeping normally. Mount Sinai is one of only a few programs in the world to use transoral robotic surgery (TORS) to remove excess tissue or fix a collapsed airway that causes sleep apnea.
Through the robotic procedure, a laser removes the extra tissue in the throat that contributes to the airway obstruction in sleep apnea patients. Patients typically return home the next day, and are back to work in 10 days, sleeping and breathing normally.
During sleep apnea, a person's breathing is blocked and then restored when the brain sends a signal that awakens the patient to a lighter level of sleep. This process can happen hundreds of times each night, leaving the patient exhausted during the day and at risk for many health complications, including cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Many patients opt for a treatment called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), delivered through a mask that the patient wears at night to force his or her airway open for the duration of sleep. However, some feel the mask hinders their quality of life, and look for better options.