Surgery for snoring
Snoring is noise generated by the soft tissues of the airway while we sleep.
While snoring is not directly dangerous to our health, it can have devastating effects on relationships and may be the first sign of developing sleep apnea.
This is one of our areas of expertise and snoring surgery may help.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
- You're too embarrassed to share a room with friends or family on trips away because of snoring
- You wait anxiously for your partner to fall asleep before you allow yourself to because you are worried your snoring will stop them falling asleep - or wake them up
- You and your partner have started sleeping in separate rooms because of snoring
SNORING CAN BECOME A MAJOR SOURCE OF STRESS IN YOUR LIFE
When left untreated, snoring may result in relationships becoming fractured – with potentially severe mental health, and self-esteem manifestations.
Surgery for snoring is tailored to each individual's airway characteristics
It can involve combination therapies:
- Nasal surgery plus weight loss
- Nasal surgery plus oral device
Or surgical treatment alone, in combination or isolated
- Nasal surgery
- Palatal surgery
- Tongue base surgery
Treatment of snoring may also involve non-surgical measures such as:
- Weight loss
- Medical treatment of allergies
- Lateral sleeping devices
- Oral devices/mandibular advancement splints
Goals of snoring surgery
Reduce the noise of snoring and the associated lifestyle and relationship challenges.
Reduce sleep apnoea risk
Facilitate other treatments
Snoring surgery can surgically facilitate the use of oral devices and complement other non-surgical measures.
Surgery for snoring
Each snoring patient we see experiences a varied interplay of airflow dynamics.
While a specific snoring surgery might reduce one patient's symptoms effectively, that particular surgical option may completely ineffective for a different patient.
In most cases, a multilevel approach is required to adequately treat snoring. Some surgical treatments may be combined and performed all at once, other procedures may be staged with a delay between each procedure.
Providing a detailed clinical history and physical assessment will help determine the most appropriate surgery for snoring.
Melbourne Sleep Surgery will identify your treatment options for snoring and explain each in detail you understand; so you and your partner can make informed choices.
Types of surgery we perform for snoring
The most common surgery performed for snoring is surgery to the soft palate.
This area along with the dangling tissue in the midline (the uvula) is the most common source of soft tissue vibration that gives rise to snoring.
If the tonsils are still present, tonsil removal in combination with soft palate repositioning (a procedure called pharyngoplasty) is the mainstay of palate surgery.
Both of these surgical options aim to better position the soft palate to limit collapse and lessen snoring-producing vibration.
There are many variations of these surgical treatments but the most commonly used in our practice is the modified Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (also known as mUPPP) which repositions the palate to a more favourable position, reducing the intensity of snoring.
Palatal surgical procedures include:
- Modified Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (mUPPP)
- Variations of mUPPP depending on anatomy
- Coblation channeling to the palate
- Injection "Snoreplasty" (in specific cases)
While nasal surgery alone is unlikely to completely "cure" snoring, it can aid troublesome nasal blockage during sleep or form part of a multilevel approach that can improve efficacy of other surgery and help facilitate the use of devices.
Nasal surgery improves nasal airflow during sleep, and reduces air pressures "downstream" that generate snoring at the palate and tongue level.
Nasal surgery for snoring usually includes one or a combination of the following procedures:
- Removal of nasal polyps/opening of sinus drainage pathways (functional endoscopic sinus surgery: FESS)
- Inferior turbinate surgery (turbinoplasty)
- Correction of the deviated nasal septum (septoplasty)
TONGUE BASE SURGERY
The tongue and tongue base is another area of potential obstruction in sleep apnoea and snoring. Tongue/tongue base surgery is often completed in combination with other snoring surgery options.
In some cases, the lingual tonsil (tonsil tissue at the base of the tongue) is large and obstructive and it is possible to remove in a minimally invasive manner.
Tongue bulk can be reduced by a variety of surgical teechniques.
Rarely, an obstruction may be caused by tissues in the larynx (upper part of the voice box) such as the epiglottis and surgery to this area is an option in some cases.
Tongue/Tongue Base surgical procedures include:
- Lingual tonsillectomy
- Coblation channeling to the tongue
- Surgery to epiglottis/supraglottic airway (rare)
Successful treatment of snoring may require a multilayered approach including snoring surgery and non-surgical options. After a comprehensive assessment we will identify your treatment options for snoring and explain each in detail so you and your partner fully understand the options and can make informed choices.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.