Does Gastric Bypass Cure Sleep Apnea?

Is it true and how does it work?

Doctor Answers 5

Sleep Apnea and gastric bypass

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There are several different reasons for sleep apnea including both central and obstructive. While sleep apnea is associated with morbid obesity and gastric bypass may produce an improvement, this is not always the case. It is very complex and you should undergo evaluation by a specialist.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Gastric Bypass Cures Sleep Apnea

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The reason that morbidly obese patients develop sleep apnea is usually because of obstruction of the airway. As patients lose weight the obstruction decreases. When patients have lost a significant amount of weight sleep apnea goes away as well. There was a study done in 2007 which showed that gastric bypass cured or significantly improved sleep apnea in 86% of patients.

David Buchin, MD
Long Island Bariatric Surgeon

Bariatric surgery for sleep apnea

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Most people with sleep apnea have excess neck adipose tissue which collapses as they sleep, causing obstruction and impaired air flow.  The weight loss associated with gastric bypass reduces the amount of tissue, and as a result reduces the amount of obstruction and apnea.  A 2013 study in the journal Obesity Surgery found that 75% of people undergoing bariatric surgery had improvement in sleep apnea.  In addition, bariatric surgery has been shown to improve high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol - all known risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease.  

Michael Ghalchi, MD
New York Internist

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Can gastric bypass cure sleep apnea?

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For patients with obstructive sleep apnea, a cure is defined as decreasing the apnea hypopnea index to less than 5 events per hour. Gastric bypass does not cure sleep apnea in all patients; however, it can significantly reduce the AHI in morbidly obese patients. 

Jose E. Barrera, MD, FACS
San Antonio Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Yes gastric bypass cures sleep apnea

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Gastric bypass results in excellent weight loss which results in resolution and/or dramatic improvement in sleep apnea in over 90% of patients.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.