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Robotic surgery could treat sleep apnea

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Robotic surgery might provide help for some of the 18-million Americans suffering from sleep apnea.

People with sleep apnea can stop breathing more than 30 times an hour and those pauses in breathing can last up to 20 seconds at a time.

It is dangerous if left untreated.

Mount Sinai is using robotic sleep apnea surgery in an effort to seek out a permanent solution instead of being hooked up to machines during sleep.

Mount Sinai is one of only a few programs in the country to use transoral robotic surgery to remove excess tissue or fix collapsed airways that causes sleep apnea.

The procedure, in its simplest terms, gives doctors the ability to reach parts of the throat that they couldn't without the robotic arms.

It's all done through the mouth and doctors control the robotic arm using a 3D monitor.

The robotic surgery removes tissue that causes airway blockage with no external incisions.

The results of the surgery can take several months.

But, not everyone is so convinced about the new surgery.

Dr. Carol Ash of the Health Sleep Center says, "The problem is whenever you have a new technology like robotics it creates a lot of enthusiasm and the public will want to race to what is that new cutting edge technology."

She says patients should explore all treatment options and consider the risks before getting robotic surgery.

"You can have worsening of your respiratory status after the surgery, certainly there is bleeding, one thing that is very common with the surgery is pain," says Dr. Carol.

http://icahn.mssm.edu/about-us/news-and-events/mount-sinai-brings-benefit-of-robotic-surgery-to-sleep-apnea-sufferers

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