Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Sleep Apnea Health Center

Font Size

Surgery Proves Effective for Sleep Apnea

Study Suggests Slight Survival Advantage for Surgery

5 Times the Risk for Heart Disease continued...

The more than 32,000 middle-aged veterans included in the study were either prescribed CPAP or the most widely used surgery for sleep apnea, in which the back of the soft palate is trimmed or shortened to allow air through more easily.

The surgical procedure is not considered as effective as CPAP, but Weaver says this may be a misconception.

"A significant percentage of patients -- roughly 80% -- show some improvement with surgery," he says. "When you consider this and the fact that so many patients on CPAP are non-compliant, surgery makes sense for a lot more people. The message is that surgery is an effective option for many patients who aren't doing well with CPAP."

Monitoring Is Key to Success

The veterans included in the study will continue to be followed, and Weaver says he expects the survival advantage for the surgery group to grow over time.

But sleep disorders researcher Carl E. Hunt, MD, says surgery is not an appropriate option for all sleep apnea patients who don't comply with CPAP treatment. He adds that many patients who think they can't get used to the devices can be trained to do so with the help of a sleep specialist.

Hunt is director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, a division of the National Institute's of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

"Many people with sleep apnea are not treated by specialists, but by their primary care physicians," he tells WebMD. "They are often prescribed CPAP and then sent home with little or no monitoring, and they don't have access to the troubleshooting they need to make the treatment work. Careful monitoring is critical, but too often overlooked. CPAP works, but only if a patient uses it."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

man wearing cpap
Know your myths from your facts.
man sleeping
What do they say about you?
man suffering from sleep apnea
You may need a sleep study.
exhausted and tired
Which type do you have?
Pet scan depression
Nighttime Heartburn
Fight Fatigue Sleepiness On The Road
Sleep Apnea Appliance
Foods That Help Or Harm Your Sleep
Sleep Apnea Clues
Insomnia 20 Tips For Better Sleep
Breus Sleep Apnea

WebMD Special Sections