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Sleep Apnea and Elective Plastic SurgeryUpdated September 25, 2013
Many individuals are afflicted with breathing disorders that plague them when they sleep, known as sleep apnea. These are commonly treated with constant positive airway devices (CPAP). Such individuals become interested in elective cosmetic plastic surgery to improve appearances.
This can present a challenge for patients and their physicians, as sleep apnea patients require a much higher level of post-surgical monitoring, and specific actions to keep them safe in the post-operative period. They are at risk for respiratory depression and even death following a general anesthetic and narcotic pain medications after a surgical procedure.
Of issue here is the problem that individuals with this medical problem can have a respiratory arrest when narcotic-containing pain medications are prescribed. Many individuals with sleep apnea can successfully undergo elective plastic surgery, provided that they are monitored with continuous oximetry in an acute care hospital overnight and narcotic pain medicine are limited.
If a patient has sleep apnea and utilizes a CPAP or similar device, please discuss this with your plastic surgeon when planning elective surgery. There may be good options available that will enable them to have surgery and be safe.