Mike Napoli, currently first baseman with the Boston Red Sox has decided to take a drastic step to try to cure his obstructive sleep apnea: major jaw surgery. He hopes that this procedure will succeed where other attempts have failed.

A Drastic Surgery

Napoli is going to undergo a procedure called bimaxillary advancement surgery, also called maxillomandibular advancement. In this procedure, both the upper and lower jaw are cut through and the forward part is moved even more forward. Hardware is used to secure the jaw and hold it in position until new bone can form.

The procedure is combined with a tongue advancement surgery. By providing more space for the tongue in the mouth and advancing the tongue forward to better utilize the space, the hope is that the procedure will reduce the amount of obstruction the tongue is providing to the airway.

Although this procedure has a very high success rate, it is generally reserved as a last resort, because it does have a longer recovery time and potential risks for sleep apnea sufferers associated with anesthesia.

Tried Everything

As we mentioned above, bimaxillary advancement surgery is generally only attempted if other treatments have failed. In Napoli’s case, he claims to have tried everything. “I’ve been dealing with sleep apnea for a long time, my whole career,” according to a text from Napoli to WEEI.com. “I’ve tried numerous things and none of them worked. Dental mouth piece, CPAP machine, medicines … It’s just gotten to the point where I have to get this done.”

Certainly, if he has tried as many different treatment options as he says, it is time to get surgery. Despite the risks of the procedure, it is still better odds than dealing with sleep apnea long-term, which, Napoli claims, he has been.

Red Sox management is aware of the issue, but they are noncommittal about what the future holds for Napoli, though they do mention commitment to working with him to manage the condition and its effects on him.

If you are dealing with sleep apnea, you could do worse than follow Napoli’s lead and try all different varieties of sleep apnea treatment. If you are looking for help with a sleep apnea appliance in Rockland County, please call 845-627-7645 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at B & D Dental Excellence.