Just about everyone snores occasionally, but when happens a lot, it can affect the quantity and quality of your sleep and that of your family members. You may have tried many different methods of treatment in order to stop the problem, but there are times when the traditional methods of treating snoring don’t work in certain individuals.
In some of the more serious cases, surgical techniques are sought for treatment – but only as a last resort. There are several different types of surgical methods for the treatment of snoring. Some of these methods are far more invasive and result in a more difficult recovery than others.
Of the less invasive procedures, somnoplasty is receiving a bit of good press. This procedure is minimally invasive in comparison to other surgical solutions. Somnoplasty is an outpatient procedure done in the office under local anesthesia. Thermal heat energy is used to reduce and stiffen the soft tissue of the uvula and soft palate, which can obstruct or vibrate in the upper airway.
The vibrations are often the cause of snoring. By eliminating the vibrations, snoring will lessen in severity and frequency.
There have been no significant complications reported with somnoplasty. Nasal packing is typically not required, and most people don’t need any sort of analgesic after their treatment. There may some stuffiness for about a week, with potential minor side effects of mild crusting, bleeding and mild pain. But overall, the pain involved in this procedure is limited and the recovery is often very short.
If your health is seriously at risk by problems such as sleep apnea and you’ve attempted and failed the traditional treatments, your doctor may recommend an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, aka UPPP or UP3.
This is a procedure in which the obstructions in your airway are removed or remodeled to made the airway wider. This may also include the removal of tonsils and adenoids in order to minimize obstructions to your airway, in order to allow air to move through the throat more easily.
This treatment is not a something that should be taken lightly. Only about 60% of those who have this surgery would be willing to go through it again. The recovery period is about three weeks and involves a small degree of discomfort when swallowing. UPPP is not hugely successful with a high percentage of those who have the surgery continuing to snore afterwards.
Nasal Reconstructive Surgery
A more invasive surgery to assist those with serious problems resulting from snoring is nasal reconstructive surgery. This is essentially plastic surgery that reconstructs – not only the bone structure of the nasal cavity – but also removes soft tissue that may be limiting your ability to take in the proper amount of air. This procedure requires a fair amount of recovery time and should be considered with some degree of caution, since it is considered a major surgery.
As a last ditch effort, some who suffer from snoring problems will resort to a tracheotomy for relief. This is a frightening procedure to undergo and highly invasive. With a tracheotomy, a tube is inserted into the windpipe in order to assist with breathing. This is not a preferred method of treatment and will in many ways become a new way of life for those who choose to undergo this particular procedure.
It’s important that you make a concentrated effort whenever possible to avoid the surgical procedures mentioned above since all surgery carries some degree of risk no matter how ‘minor’ the surgery is supposed to be. Discuss your options candidly and seriously with your physician before deciding that surgery is the only answer for you.