Dr Rachelle Love FRACS

Consultant Otolaryngologist and Sleep Surgeon, Christchurch Public Hospital, Christchurch, NZ

Dr Love has recently returned to Christchurch after an 18 month fellowship in Australia.  Her fellowship, under Professor MacKay in paediatric and adult sleep medicine and surgery, saw her involved in a multi-disciplinary team which assessed around 60 sleep patients a week, and she carried out over 60 upper airway reconstructions in sleep patients.  She is currently part of a multi-national research group across sleep medicine and surgery.  As an Indigenous doctor, her research interests lie in delivery of care to Maori, and she is an advocate for women in surgery.

The Direction of Sleep Surgery in New Zealand

Introduction: Sleep as a discipline was initially the domain of psychiatry, then neurology and is now thought to be mostly in the respiratory realm. The role of the Sleep Surgeon is currently largely confined to addressing sleep breathing disorders, in the context of failed medical management. Most sleep surgeons work in isolation, outside of multi-disciplinary teams and often without the resources to provide optimal care to sleep patients.

Aims: This presentation outlines the current international frameworks within which Sleep Surgeons work. Emphasis is placed on the multi-disciplinary team, and the role of the Sleep surgeon as physician, surgeon, researcher and collaborator.

Conclusions: The modern Sleep Surgeon would benefit working in a multi-disciplinary capacity, have access to adequate resources such as polysomnography and be familiar with a range of treatment, both surgical and non-surgical, to provide optimal care to patients with a diagnosis of sleep disordered breathing.