Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where a person might stop breathing for several seconds while sleeping. There are many mechanisms that can contribute to OSA symptoms. Obesity has been associated with an increase in incidence of sleep apnea and other respiratory problems. Morbidly obese people are more likely to have a greater buildup of fat deposits near the opening of their airway, increasing the risk of OSA. While OSA can occur regardless of age, gender, or body weight, the condition tends to be more severe in obese individuals.

Reducing overall excess body weight reduces fat deposits and can alleviate sleep apnea. Studies have shown that sleep apnea is present in as much as 60 percent or more of patients who undergo weight loss surgery. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the primary treatment for sleep apnea: patients wear a mask that is connected to an air blower that pushes air through the nose and/or mouth while they sleep. CPAP is an effective treatment for sleep apnea when the mask is worn; however, patients find the mask obtrusive and research has shown that compliance is low. Weight loss surgery can be an extremely effective treatment for OSA, with as much as 86 percent of patients experiencing improvement of resolution sleep apnea after surgery, according to new research. The recent study, published by Dr. Mark Fusco, Florida Bariatric Surgeon, found that lap-band surgery is highly effective in improving sleep quality and OSA symptoms.  Using data from the 2 year interim report of the on-going APEX (Lap-Band AP Experience) study, Dr. Fusco reported that 1 year post-surgery, 36 percent of the patients experienced resolution or improvement of OSA.  At 2 years, this proportion increased to 86 percent, with only 14 percent reporting no change.

Dr. Vafa Shayani is an expert in Lap-Band surgery, and has happily found that many of his patients report resolution of their own sleep apnea. He started performing gastric banding soon after its FDA approval in 2001, making him one of the first surgeons in the United States to perform this procedure. You can learn more about the procedure by contacting Dr. Shayani to schedule a consultation.