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6 Month Update: Decisive Victory!!!

Wed Dec 12, 2012

clayListon

Yesterday I had my 6-month post-operative appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Kupferman.  He received the results of the sleep lab results, and I’m happy to report that my AHI (Apnea-Hypopnea Index) went from seventeen (mild-moderate) to post-operative score of  three !!!!  Since anything below a score of 5 is considered “normal”, I can finally say that the MMA surgery has relieved me of my sleep apnea!

SIX MONTH UPDATE (well, actually 6 months, three weeks):

Sleep Quality: Three words: Very much improved!  My eyes pop open between 7-8 hours after falling asleep.  My sleep inertia is still around 15 minutes (vs 45-60 minutes pre-surgery), and I’m generally in a good mood and rested.  I have far more energy throughout the day, and the sporadic heart arrhythmias (skipping heartbeat) I was feeling last year have completely disappeared. Truth is, I’ve been feeling this good for many weeks, and frankly I’m beginning to take it for granted already! The big story about sleep quality is really about my wife.  She has been significantly impacted by the apnea as well, and is also noticing feeling more refreshed in the mornings.

windtunnelAirway Efficiency: Some more numbers from the surgeon;  One of the functions of the software they use allows them to compare the airway volume increase  by comparing the cone-beam scans they do pre-surgery and post-surgery.  According to the measurements, my airway increased in volume by 40% !!!  Not only does this prevent my airway from collapsing completely while sleeping, but it allows me a much improved air uptake while exercising. I’m hoping NASA accepts my proposal to give them access to my mouth to conduct wind tunnel tests.  So far, they haven’t returned my calls….

Numbness: As I mentioned before, My facial numbness has completely disappeared.  As far as mouth numbness is concerned, it’s mostly gone, but not completely. The sensations in the roof of my mouth and upper gums has have increased significantly, starting from the back of my mouth (near the molars) and progressing forward. At this point, I have sensation (pokes, temperature) as far up as my canine teeth.  The canines and incisors on the top are still fairly numb, as is the front edge of the roof of my mouth just behind these teeth. These teeth also feel “spongy”, although this sensation has mostly disappeared from the teeth farther back. Other MMA patients have reported this sensation for many months after surgery, so I’m not too worried about it. My surgeon has told me that nerve regeneration can take up to a year. After that, there’s a good chance that whatever hasn’t regenerated probably won’t.

I’ll say this last thing about numbness:  permanent nerve damage is a real possibility with this surgery.  The good news is that even if you have some, it’s not something you’ll probably be distracted by.  The single biggest factor in avoiding it, however, is the skill of your surgeon.  PICK YOUR SURGEON WISELY!


giantBurger Jaw Flexibility: 
Oddly, my jaw now opens wider than pre-surgery. Before, the distance between my upper & lower incisors with my mouth fully open was about 45-50 mm.  Now, I can open about 60 mm. Since I’m not a mechanical genius, it took me a while to arrive at the obvious reason: My mouth open wider because my jaws are longer!  Duh!

So, if you’re a giant hamburger, be afraid. Be very afraid…

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