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Cpap mask causing skull deformities

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p3000g +0 points · over 4 years ago Original Poster

Anyone experience skull indentations with CPAP mask? I have used a respironics dreamwear full face mask for about 8 months now and I have started to notice indentations on the top and back of my head. Anyone else experienced that? Anything to be concerned about ?

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Snorell +0 points · over 4 years ago

I've never heard about that and my husband has never told me such things. Maybe your mask is very tight and switching on another one would be a good decision...

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Sierra +0 points · over 4 years ago Sleep Patron

I agree that does not sound normal. Straps too tight or you need a mask with a larger fitting area for the straps and headgear.

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · over 4 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

Hi p3000g

I have been using the same mask for 5 years now and I have that problem (RUTS) and although that thread was written in a provocative or jocular style it was actually a serious question.

For me it was never obvious until I began cutting my hair very short but the straps certainly seem to have reshaped the skull.

It could be coincidental but I was not aware of those tracks before I had CPAP and what are the odds of them being exactly where the straps are?

Initially I thought it might be just tracks in the scalp but now I'm pretty sure it is in the skull itself.

Maybe I have a soft head?

Maybe the straps have to be in just the right areas in the first place?

Maybe it's exacerbated by a shrinking brain?

I cut my hair very short because the straps manage to slip off pretty much every night for one reason or another and longer hair just makes it worse.

One reason for the mask slipping around is that it's not very tight so it doesn't require tight straps to cause indents.

I'm not overly concerned myself but that's largely because these are the least of my problems and unless I buy a mask that has a totally different strap configuration there is not much I can do about it.

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p3000g +0 points · over 4 years ago Original Poster

Could it be the airflow on the sides that is causing the pressure on the skull? One of the big advantages of the respironics dreamwear full face mask is that unlike others, the tube attaches to the top of the head rather than the front of the nose . This is helpful for me because , I turn quite a lot in my sleep and something in front of my face will cause a lot of mess. I wear my mask before I attach the tube , so when I wear it , it is quite comfortable without being too tight, but maybe when the pressure ramps up , it exerts extra pressure on the skull

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · over 4 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

I had a CT brain scan a few days ago and, yes, they found nothing. :O

Now, back to the subject, whatever that was ........

Oh, right!

That scan. It clearly shows the "deformity" (I really don't like that word! :( )

Which leaves me with three possible conclusions:

1) The skull shape was already there but remained unnoticed for 55 years.

2) CPAP mask straps can compress or deform the shape of the skull.

3) I have an overactive imagination and none of it is real.

Should we take a vote on it? :)

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Sherry +0 points · over 4 years ago Sleep Commentator

No doubt CPAP Straps do take a toll on the hair and if too tight I can see it causing a permanent indentation. One of the things that has been helpful is to wrap a piece of silk fabric around the straps.

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · over 4 years ago Sleep Enthusiast

This is a subject that I have been wondering about for some time now, not just because I have a permanent trench across my head from the mask strap that I have worn for 15,000 hours but I also have a CT scan that shows an obvious gully in the bone across the top exactly where the strap goes.

I was not aware of this for the first 50 years of my life, so I can blame it all on the CPAP right?

The following points might seem unconnected because they probably are unconnected.

Yesterday when I was young so many happy songs ........ Oops I digress.

It seems to me that when we were younger the flesh on our skulls was thicker and more resilient. Dents were easily formed in that soft flesh and just as easily faded.

Most of us had no particular need to map the topographical features of our skulls and a thick layer of pliable flesh and an even thicker forest of hair concealed most of the hills and gullies.

I think that as we age the flesh on our skulls becomes thinner and less resilient and the tracks of our mask straps become almost permanent.

So can I blame the CPAP for the dent in my skull?

Unfortunately not, because I think that as the hair and the scalp both got thinner, that gully, which is probably not uncommon amongst adults, became more obvious but, in all likelihood, it was there all along.

So my theory is that in most cases normal processes of ageing have revealed pre-existing anomalies in the skull shape and lack of resilience of the scalp has embedded the path of the straps, perhaps even in the same place, but these factors are most likely unconnected.

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morecoffeeplease +0 points · over 1 year ago

Ok…so I just did a search to see if anyone else had dent in their skull from cpap and found this. I too have a very noticeable “dent” exactly where my mask straps sit. But in a different place on my head to Biguglygremlin. For me it’s all the way around the back of my head, about from ear to ear, and then I also have a dent across the top as well. All EXACTLY where my mask straps sit. I can easily feel it’s not just a dent in the thin fleshy bit and way too deep for that anyway. My Dr tried to tell me it must have always been like that. There is no way that’s anything other than a bad guess. I’ve been wearing CPAP headgear for over 26000 hours in total. I have to use high pressure settings so mask needs to be tight to prevent leaks. At least I know now I’m not the only one.

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Sierra +0 points · over 1 year ago Sleep Patron

Since I wrote my initial response to this about 3 years ago, I have also noticed that I have a horizontal dent in my skull which would correspond to my back strap. I use Swift FX headgear, but at fairly low pressure of 11 cm fixed. I think it is quite possible that the mask strap is causing the dent. I've used a mask for about 4 years now and almost all with this mask. Have not talked to my doctor about it....

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · over 1 year ago Sleep Enthusiast

Before I did all that waffling above I looked at Google images of peoples skulls and it seems to me that many humans have significant dents and trenches across their skulls that presumably follow the lines where the original skull plates were grown and welded together.

I think it is likely that the CPAP mask designers studied skull shapes to determine where best to place the straps to gain the most stability and by so doing they have accentuated the previously unnoticed topography.

As you are no doubt aware I would happily blame my CPAP for every know health issue and, of course, climate change as well, but I very much doubt that it could impact on the actual bone of an adult skull.

It's more likely that some of these 'deformities' were caused by undernourishment or prolonged dehydration at critical stages in the skull's early formation.

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eggbert +0 points · about 1 year ago

Yes. I get a ridge across the top of my head. At least 2-3mm deep. At first I thought I was just sleepy and not really noticing but as the day goes on, the ridge is gone or nearly gone.

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Hefeweizen +0 points · 11 months ago

My dad in his 70s has been using a CPAP machine for over 20 years. When viewing his head from the side he has an extremely noticable indent across his entire forehead about an inch above his eyebrow which he attributes to his CPAP strap. It is not just tissue, it has very obviously reshaped his actual skull. So on myself Im careful not to make it any tighter than it needs to be and to move the straps to slightly different spots each night.

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mostlyoffline +0 points · 3 months ago

Hi, I was glad to find this thread as there seems to be hardly anything written about this. After about five years of using my CPAP machine I discovered a horizontal line on my head exactly where the strap ran. I compared the shape of my head to the shape of my head just a few years before I began using the machine by looking at pictures. It became very obvious that the strap must have caused the deformity as there had been nothing at all before I started wearing the mask!

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Sierra +0 points · 3 months ago Sleep Patron

Since I posted here a year ago, suggesting I that I have a dent from wearing Swift FX headgear I switched to the new standard AirFit P10 mask with the improved headgear. This mask actually has worked quite well for me, but more recently the lower strap has been slipping upward at night. Feeling my head, I think the dent from the more rigid Swift FX mask has pretty much gone away. So this is kind of a good news, bad news story. The dent goes away, but the dent was useful in keeping the mask in place!

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MemoryWorry +0 points · 3 months ago

I'm 77 years old.
Even though I didn't have any symptoms, apart from Night Sweats, I was tested for Apnea 9 months ago with an event count of 14, which I was told was in the low area, but still recommended an APAP. Over the past 9 months I have tried all 3 types of Mask. ALL 3 of them have caused Dents in my skull. I am convinced of that as I have often changed the strap locations to test it out.

HOWEVER WHAT BOTHERS ME IS THAT OVER THE TIME I FEEL AS THOUGH MY MEMORY HAS BADLY WORSENED AS FAR AS REMEMBERING NAMES OF PEOPLE, FOOD AND PLACES. COULD IT BE THE DENTS CAUSED BY THE STRAPS AFFECTING MEMORY ??????

I started with Half Face Mask, which after a while started to cause me to one of my lower my lower teeth was coming Loose. So I switched to Full Face Mask. It also made my lower teeth feel loose, but also, for some reason the APAP would regularly reach a very high pressure. When I told the ResMed person, he told me to just press the button to reset it back to 4.0 However I found myself doing that 3 or 4 times/night and therefore causing interrupted sleep. So then I switched to the Nasal pillows despite knowing that I am an Open Mouth breather. This was by far the most comfortable, no teeth problem but still dents and the LEAK measurement was around 25 each night. I also I woke up with a very congested nose. So I got a Chin Strap and tried it a couple of times. Yes I got lower leak numbers but each night I could only stand the chin strapping for 3 or 4 hours.

Right now I'm back to the Pillows with Leaks about 25 but Events below 1.0. Thinking seriously of stopping usage of the APAP and buying Prevagen !!!!

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Sierra +0 points · 3 months ago Sleep Patron

I have used about 5-6 different masks now, and have even combined headgear from one type with the mask portion of another. I found that the ResMed Swift FX headgear did cause a dent in the back of my skull. I am 74 and do have some memory issues, but I think it is a stretch to blame it on the CPAP headgear. I suspect it is my age, and for some reason that seems to keep increasing -- which is a good thing compared to the alternative!

Since discontinuing the use of the Swift FX nasal pillow mask headgear and going back to the basic ResMed AirFit P10 nasal pillow mask the dent has basically gone away. This causes me some issues with the headgear staying in place, but the mask never falls off. I am also a mouth breather, and have used mouth taking for a few years now to stop the leaks from my mouth. See this video by a dentist on mouth taping. It has other benefits. My average leak rate is about 6 L/min.

How to Mouth Tape for a Better Sleep

I do not use anything fancy for tape, just 1" wide 3M Micropore tape which you can get at Walmart or a medical supplies place. The best chin strap I found was the BreatheWear Halo one, but I no longer use it when I do mouth taping.

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MemoryWorry +0 points · 2 months ago

Must admit I am scared to try taping my mouth. My nose is often very blocked - wondering if one night I will never wake up again !!!!!

The monitor people contacted me yesterday and I reminded them how the Half and Full Masks gave me dents AND affected my teeth, so I was currently using a pillow mask with the straps way down near my neck, where I get Good Event Numbers, but leakage in 25-30 range.

They just replied that they had a Swift FX mask WITH AN ATTACHMENT CALLED BELLA LOOPS that go round the ears costing an extra $20.

Has anybody tried this ?????

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Sierra +0 points · 2 months ago Sleep Patron

I have tried the Swift FX with the standard headgear. The headgear was great but I found the mask itself to be terrible. The vent system on it consists of small round holes that seem to accelerate the velocity of the air venting out. I tried a few different ways to try and tame down the velocity of the air so I could sleep with it, but was not successful. I did like the harness and adapted it to my AirFit P10 mask. See this link. I have looked at the Bella system but not tried it. I would be concerned that it would not stay on, or would be irritating on the ears. But, like I say, I have not tried it...

https://myapnea.org/forum/resmed-airfit-p10-flimsy-headgear-upgrade-solution

Since that time I have gone back to the AirFit P10 with the somewhat improved headgear. It is working quite well for me.

Mouth taping and nose congestion have not turned out to be a problem for me. I was originally using Otrivin spray now and then, but have found it not necessary. When you are forced to breath through your nose, the congestion seems to take care of itself...

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