HALF OF ALL MIDDLE AGED MEN SUFFER FROM IT-BUT ONLY TWENTY PERCENT KNOW THEY HAVE IT.
IF LEFT UNTREATED, SLEEP APNEA CAN BE DEADLY.
NOW A NEW SURGERY COULD HELP SUFFERERS GET THE SLEEP THEY NEED.
SPONGE BOB IS NOT THE ONLY ONE FEELING LIKE THIS!
IRONICALLY-ONE OF THE CARTOON'S CREATORS-IS ONE OF 12 MILLION AMERICAN SUFFERING FROM SLEEP APNEA.
ALBIE HECHT RAN NICKELODEON FOR A DECADE. DURING HIS LAST YEAR HE FELT LIKE HE WAS STUCK IN A NIGHTMARE.
"I was walking up 57 times an hour."
"Sleep Apnea has shown to increase the occurrence of serious medical problems."
WHILE RECOMMENDED FOR ALL, ONLY HALF OF THE PEOPLE DIAGNOSED WILL SLEEP WITH ONE OF THESE, A BULKY C-PAP MACHINE. MOST WILL GO UNTREATED. THE OTHER OPTION -- SURGERY.
"The problem is, there was really no good way to address the area without making a large incision in the neck."
DOCTORS AT NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN-COLUMBIA NOW USE A ROBOTIC SURGERY TO GET TO THE PROBLEM.
"At the back part of the tongue, there's some lymphoid tissue, and all this excess tissue is obstructing the airway."
DOCTOR JEFFREY AHN CAN NOW GO IN THROUGH A PATIENT'S MOUTH-WITHOUT AN INCISION. HE SHAVES AWAY THE EXCESS LYMPHOID TISSUES, OPENING UP THE AIRWAY.
PATIENTS ARE ON A SOFT DIET AND MIGHT SUFFER FROM A SEVERE SORE THROAT FOR UP TO TWO WEEKS. BUT FOR ALBIE, IT WAS WORTH IT.
"I sleep very well now, that's the miracle of it all."
IF YOU'RE OVERWEIGHT YOU CAN BE MORE PRONE TO SLEEP APNEA.
BECAUSE OF THE POST-OP DIET, PEOPLE WHO GET THE ROBO-SURGERY BENEFIT FROM A GOOD SIDE EFFECT.
THEY USUALLY LOSE ABOUT TWENTY POUNDS.
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.