ENT surgery clears way for charity champion

When he presented to Monash Health, patient Braun Mennusko was battling with severe sleep apnoea, meaning he was always very tired and found it difficult to perform his daily activities.

The previously energetic philanthropist had raised more than $100,000 for charity in Australia and was looking to improve his health and continue with his committed work.

Braun is extremely thankful for his new outlook on life – thanks to the department of Ear Nose and Throat, Head and Neck Surgery.

“Prior to my surgery I was really bad during the night and I regularly stopped breathing,” he said.

ENT Consultant Surgeon, Mr Glen Burgess, said Braun was at high risk of further medical complications.

“His AHI (Apnea–Hypopnea Index) level of 101 was very severe and his oxygen saturation levels would fall to under 73 % over the night,” he said.

“We saw he had issues with obstruction in the nose, large tonsils and tongue base collapse as well as excess weight. He was unable to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. After discussing his situation with him, we organised a treatment program of corrective surgery combined with efforts at weight loss, with the help of our dietician.

“We performed multi-level upper airway surgery for Mr Mennusko. He had nasal patency surgery at the same time as tonsillectomy, palatoplasty and tongue channelling to treat his obstructive sleep apnoea.”

Mr Burgess said Braun had recovered well.

“He has done very well from the surgery and has had significant weight loss as well. His current AHI post-treatment is 2.3 – which is well within the normal limit of 5.0 – and his sleep apnoea is now effectively cured.”

Braun was overjoyed with the results.

“Thanks to the ENT team I’ve dropped 20kg and practically married the local park, where I do bike and boat exercise marathons every week,” he said.

Importantly, Braun has been able to return to his charitable activities.

“I put everything I’ve got into my charity work, and I’ve also been able to rebuild my Mum to great health, which during the peak of my apnoea, was just impossible. Thanks to Dr Glen’s work I can get back into the saddle again and really go for it, as I really enjoy what I do.

“This is the incredible thing you’ve done for me. When I came in again after surgery for my review with Glen, I had a truly wonderful time thanking everyone, as I’m big on giving proper recognition and this is such a worthy cause.”

Monash Health’s specialist consulting snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea clinic offers a multidisciplinary team focus for treatment and also provides specialised assessment by dietician Jennie Friebel.

They work closely with the respiratory team under Dr Mansfield to optimise treatment in a multidisciplinary approach.