da Vinci® Robot-Assisted Sleep Apnea Surgery
A revolutionary new way to treat severe sleep apnea
One of the latest medical advances in sleep medicine is the recent FDA approval of the use of the da Vinci® Robot-Assisted Surgical System for severe obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Mark D’Agostino is helping to pioneer this revolutionary new procedure – called TORS, or TransOral Robotic Surgery - that will help thousands of people. Dr. D’Agostino is one of only a handful of surgeons in the world able to offer this new robotic procedure to patients.
To make an appointment with Dr. D'Agostino, call 860-344-0055.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, most often when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. For those with sleep apnea, the brain briefly wakes them throughout their sleep so that they resume breathing. However, as a result sleep quality is poor and unrestful, resulting in daytime fatigue and many other problems.
Traditional sleep apnea treatment
Until now, patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea had relatively few choices in treatment.
Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, and traditional invasive surgical techniques have been used to treat sleep apnea. Often lifestyle changes alone may be enough to relieve mild sleep apnea. However, people who have moderate or severe sleep apnea may need breathing devices or surgery.
The standard breathing device treatment for sleep apnea is to wear a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask, which improves the opening of the breathing passages by blowing pressurized air into the patient’s nose or mouth during inhalation, overcoming the obstructed throat that creates the sleep apnea However many patients cannot adjust to sleeping with the CPAP mask and therefore do not wear it.
Those who have been unable to adjust to using a CPAP had relatively few additional choices for treatment.
TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) for sleep apnea
Previous surgical options for treating sleep apnea involved creating a large opening in the neck and jaw – and sometimes the need to break the jawbone. Recovery time was often lengthy.
The use of da Vinci® robot-assisted surgery for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is revolutionary due to the minimally invasive nature of the procedure. With amazing dexterity and precision, the surgeon guides the robotic arms in through the patient’s mouth rather than through the neck. The high-definition, 3D camera allows the surgeon to perfectly visualize areas of the mouth and throat that, in the past, could only be seen through open incisions.
Dr. Mark A. D’Agostino is one of only a handful of surgeons in the world who use da Vinci® to perform the TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) procedure for the treatment of sleep apnea. Dr. D'Agostino has performed numerous TORS procedures and is considered one of the foremost experts on da Vinci® sleep apnea surgery.
The surgery is primarily for patients whose sleep apnea is due to having tongue-based obstruction because it focuses on reducing the size of the base of the tongue.
Patients are assessed during an in-office examination, which includes a review of recent sleep studies, and an evaluation with a scope to identify the levels of tissue obstruction. If the tongue base is involved in creating the obstruction, the patient is a candidate for sleep apnea surgery using the da Vinci® system.
The sleep apnea procedure (TORS) involves the actual surgery and a 1-2 day hospital stay after the surgery. Full recovery is expected to take about three weeks. A sleep study is then conducted about three months after surgery to ensure that the procedure was successful.
About the da Vinci® SI Surgical System
The da Vinci® SI Surgical System is designed to provide surgeons with enhanced capabilities, including high-definition 3D vision and a magnified view. Your doctor controls the da Vinci® Surgical System, which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body.
Though it is often called a “robot,” da Vinci® cannot act on its own. The sleep apnea surgery is performed entirely by your Middlesex Hospital surgeon, and complimented by the advanced technology of the da Vinci® robot. This allows for even very complex lobectomy procedures to be performed through a few tiny incisions. As a result, you may be able to get back to life faster without the usual recovery following major surgery.
The da Vinci® Surgical System has been used successfully worldwide in hundreds of thousands of procedures to date. Middlesex Hospital is building one of the most comprehensive robot assisted surgical programs in New England, offering prostate cancer surgery, sleep apnea surgery, gynecological surgery and thoracic surgery.