Imagine you are traveling by train.It’s night time, the lights are off, and the whole compartment is sleeping soundly. But then you hear snoring- loud and insistent. Certainly irritating, isn’t it? The National Sleep Foundation says that more than a quarter of the population snores on a regular basis. The question which immediately comes to mind is- are there treatment options or cures?
You will feel relieved to know that there are indeed surgical options. But before that, let’s see what actually causes one to snore.
Snoring? That is generally a result of partial obstruction of breathing, as certain tissues block your airway while you sleep. So, the flow of air through your throat or nose causes vibration of those tissues. That vibration is responsible for the buzzing and booming sounds associated with snoring. The theory is simple- the more obstructed the airway, the louder your snoring will be. Roughly 20%-30% of women and 40%-50% of men snore regularly.
Let’s look at what you should remember before going for a surgery:
- Think of surgery as a last resort.
- A sleep study should be conducted before any form of surgery. Even after this, consider the following:
- Weight- you must not be obese. But even after surgery you may resume snoring if you put on weight, especially around the neck area. So you should take care of your diet. If you put on weight, you might develop sleep apnea later on. That surgery might just mask this development.
- Low alcohol consumption.
- Correct jaw shape.
- Always go for a full diagnosis because snoring may originate from the base of the tongue instead of the soft palate. Remember that surgeries will not eliminate tongue-based snoring.
- Be prepared- you will experience pain after the operation.
- Remember that there is no guarantee of success. Even if it is initially successful there is a chance that the snoring will return.
- Keep in mind that once you have undergone the surgical procedure, the effects of it are not reversible and there could be resultant side effects because of it.
Most of the surgeries are done by widening the airway. They remove the soft tissues found in the mouth, nose or throat which trigger snoring.
Now let’s go to the main topic itself and check:
Eight Surgical Options
1. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
You will be placed under a general anesthetic and then the surgeon will remove the excess soft tissues causing the blockage. While this seems to be a simple procedure but there are many potential side effects to it:
- Nasal congestion
This is performed under a local anesthetic as well so you better be prepared.A low-intensityradio frequency will be used to shrink the relaxed soft palate tissue present at the back of your throat. This is what causes the air to vibrate as it passes through your airway. One thing you can count on is that this surgery will be much less painful than the others.
3. Pillar Procedure
Here, tiny braided strands of polyester filaments will be inserted into your throat’s soft palate tissue to reduce vibrations.
Adenoidectomy or Uvulectomy. Here, as the name says, either the enlarged tonsilsor the adenoids will be removed. But a more drastic step would be removing your uvula present at the back of the throat. The reason why this course of action is considered drastic is that noone is sure what exactly the function of the uvula is. So be cautious and think hard before going for this option.
5. Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty(LAUPP)
Here a laser beam is used to remove or shorten your uvula.
6. Radiofrequency Palatoplasty
Here’s how it’s done:
- An energy burst from an electrode will be applied to your soft palate.
- That electrical current will stiffen and then shrink both the soft palate and uvula. Thus, making them less likely to vibrate.
Take note that it could take months to heal from this surgery. You might experience throat swelling during this time.
7. Nasal Polypectomy
Before going into details about the surgery, first you must understand what nasal polypsare. These are round soft tissues which can block the airflow through your nasal passages. But there some good news about them:
- They aren’t dangerous or harmful
- These are not painful
While removing the polyps will give you relief but there’s no guarantee that you will not end up having more of them down the line.
8. Nasal Septoplasty
Check to make sure if you have a deviated septum. If you do then this is the surgery to consider. Nasal Septoplasty will repair that misalignment by straightening up the bones and tissues of the septum. This will open up your airway so that you can breathe freely.
Many people often confuse a nasal septoplasty with a rhinoplasty, the cosmetic procedure that addresses the aesthetic of the nose, but these two surgeries have very different goals.
Still remember thatsurgeries are painful and expensive in themselves. Moreover, they might never fully cure snoring. The best you can hope for is that they become less frequent and severe.
That’s why snoring aids and other solutions are recommended:
- MAD Mouthpieces
- Snoring Pillows
Opting for surgery is a step which you should be carefully considered since there are a lot of side effects associated with it. However, if you do opt for them, then make sure to do proper research and follow up.