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Can Breast Implants Cause Sleep Apnea?

Posted May 07 2010 11:40am

I saw a woman today who came in for a routine ear problem, but just happened to mention that her sleep has been poor for the past 2 years. It turns out that she underwent breast augmentation 2 years ago and ever since has been forced to sleep on her side or back. Normally she prefers to sleep on her stomach, but since the surgery, it's been uncomfortable to sleep in this position.

I see this situation more commonly after women read articles in magazines where dermatologists are telling women to avoid sleeping on their stomachs or sides to avoid facial wrinkles. Of course the timing is perfect, where the onset of various symptoms (headaches, fatigue, sinus problems, etc.) began around the time that they started sleeping on their backs.

As I've stated before, many modern humans have smaller jaws, and this leads to the tongue to take up relatively more space in the mouth. When on our backs, the tongue can fall back partially due to gravity. Once you reach the deeper stages of sleep, your muscles relax, and you'll stop breathing and then wake up. Most people toss and turn and figure out that they prefer to sleep on their sides or stomach. Anything that prevents the preferred sleep position (pregnancy, neck injury, surgery, etc.) can prevent deep efficient sleep.

So technically, breast implants don't cause obstructive sleep apnea directly , but it can definitely cause you to stop breathing more often. 

How many of you have had a similar situation? What made your sleep position change for the worse? Please enter your answer in the comments box below.

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