Boston Red Sox first baseman Robert Napoli was on the verge of leaving the game when his sleep apnea left him barely able to function on game day- or any other day. After undergoing MMA (a form of sleep apnea surgery) and experiencing an astonishing resurgence of energy, he recently hit a dramatic three-run 11th-inning home run to boost the Sox 9-4 over the Blue Jays. You can read about his story here: Refreshed Red Sox First Baseman Mike Napoli Moves Past Sleep Apnea
What Is Maxillomandibular Advancement?
Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) is s surgical procedure often pursued after other sleep apnea treatments have failed. Also known as Bimaxillary Advancement (Bi-Max), the procedure actually moves the upper and lower jaws forward, allowing up to double the air space and enabling sufferers of this common sleep disorder to breathe more easily. It is usually done in tandem with tongue advancement surgery, known as genioglossus advancement, which reduces the problem of tongue blockage during sleep.
The surgery was originally performed to correct various facial skeletal deformities. However, in the late 1970s doctors noticed that patients who had had surgery to advance the lower jaw experienced a noticeable reduction in sleepiness, leading to use of the surgery to treat severe cases of sleep apnea.
Does MMA Work?
Absolutely! Considered the most acceptable and effective sleep apnea surgery, with success rates between 94 and 100 percent, MMA surgery works for most sufferers simply because it dramatically enlarges the entire airway. This frees the sleeper from the obstructions that can interrupt sleep to the point that functioning properly during the day is no longer possible.
Should I Have MMA?
MMA is considered major surgery and is normally only pursued when other treatments, including C-Pap devices, medication, nasal surgeries, tonsillectomy, tongue reduction and dental devices have failed. MMA surgery has a high success rate but a long and sometimes difficult recovery as the bones of the face heal and become settled into their new position. It is also performed on patients who have significant facial deformities that are contributing to sleep apnea.
What Can I Expect After Surgery?
In most cases, the jaw does not need to be wired after surgery, as small titanium plates and screws, braces and rubber bands are put in place to preserve the bite’s integrity. However, you’ll still have to avoid chewing for around four weeks. There may be pain, swelling and temporary numbness of the lower lip and chin, although speech and swallowing are not affected.
Will I Look Different?
Because your upper and lower jaws have been shifted to a new position, some changes in facial appearance will be noticed. This is particularly the case where nasal surgery and/or tongue advancement procedures have also been done. Most patients are happy with their new appearance.
How Will I Feel After Surgery?
You will be prescribed pain medication after MMA. Since the combination of pain and swelling may cause temporary difficulty in swallowing, you’ll need to be on a liquid diet for a few weeks after surgery. A gradual increase in physical activity is recommended, and you’ll need to sleep with the head elevated for at least the first seven days.
What are the Post-Surgical Risks?
MMA is significant surgery and several risks are associated with the procedure as with any surgical procedure. You may experience post-surgical swelling that creates a temporary narrowing of the area, possibly requiring longer use of a breathing tube or performance of a temporary tracheotomy to allow comfortable breathing. Post-surgical bleeding, infection, tooth injury or numbness in teeth or middle and lower portions of the face may also occur.
To learn about sleep apnea surgical procedures offered at Robinson Cosmetic Surgery in Denver, CO, click here.