OAKDALE, Conn. (WTNH) – Tom McCarthy, 34, has an active life as a firefighter and family man, but his loud snoring was starting to impact others.
“I was living in a firehouse at the time and I was keeping a lot of people up with my snoring and then my girlfriend also complained,” McCarthy explained. “The snoring would keep her up at night.”
Unable to successfully use the CPAP breathing machine, McCarthy opted, like more and more adults now, to have a UPPP surgery, partially involving having his tonsils removed to stop his snoring and help his sleep apnea.
“Their wives will send them in, sometimes the women will come in and say they’ve been on a trip with their friends and they just are snoring so loudly,” said Dr. Frank Dellacono of Ear Nose & Throat Associates of SECT. “They’ll come in with snoring a lot of times.”
Dr. Dellacono sees a lot more adults opting for surgery to allow for more airflow while patients sleep.
“We can reduce the palate, the soft part in the back where the uvula hangs down, to make that more stiff. We can do a laser reduction of the tissue there that’s floppy,” says Dr. Dellacono.
He says that sleep apnea can lead to blood pressure problems, sexual dysfunction, and even a heart attack.
“Occasionally I still snore,” McCarthy admitted. “But not as bad, [and] my sleeping is better, my breathing has been better.”
Dr. Dellacono told McCarthy that the surgery would not be easy and recovery could take weeks. There is also an overnight hospital stay.
“I have long days and I have enough energy to do it all. I feel better and only get about six hours of sleep at night.”
As for results, Dr. Dellacono says half those with sleep apnea either come off their CPAP machines or have a less drastic case. He says his snoring results are high.
“Surgery will probably get rid of snoring in about 90% of patients, which a lot of bedmates are happy about that.”
Children can also be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Dellacono says that some kids diagnosed with ADHD or who experience focus issues in school could actually have very large tonsils and adenoids obstructing their breathing at night, causing them to snore.
He says removing both can make a huge difference for some kids ages 18 and under.