Is Surgery The Right Option To Cure Snoring? Do I Really Need It?

Surgery for snoring is rarely recommended. It is only considered in very severe situations and when all other treatments have been tried and failed. Before you take the big decision of palatal surgery to get rid of snoring, ensure that the problem of snoring originates from the palate as opposed to the tongue’s base. In case of nasal abnormalities, address them before you contemplate the palatal surgery.

Palatal surgery stops or reduces the compressibility of the area around the throat, which is thought to be responsible for snoring. The aim of the surgery is to reduce the tissue in this region. The surgeon may recommend sleep nasendoscopy before undertaking a deeper level of obstruction such as palatal surgery. Herein, the surgeon examines the upper airways using a narrow and flexible endoscope to see if collapsing occurs. This procedure is time consuming and costly.

There are different types of surgery to ameliorate snoring. What works best for you is determined by your surgeon keeping the cause and medical conditions in consideration. The different types of surgery to treat snoring are:

  1. Uvulopalatophyaryngoplasty: It involves removal of excessive soft tissue from the back of the throat to widen the upper airways. The adenoids, tonsils and other tissues may have to be removed to widen the airway and enhance the smooth airflow. This may help to reduce snoring.
  2. Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty: A laser device is used to remove the tissue in the throat to widen the airways and stop the snoring.
  3. Nasal Polypectomy: This entails removing nasal polyps, which are round and soft tissues that may block the airflow within the nose.
  4. Adenoidectomy or Tonsillectomy: If you have enlarged adenoids or tonsils that may be blocking the airways while you sleep. This surgery is recommended to open the airways during the sleep and provide instant relief.
  5. Nasal Septoplasty: This procedure straightens and repairs the septum or tissues and bones that separate the two passages within the nose. This surgery is only performed if there is a nasal deformity present.
  6. Implantation of plastic cylinders: In this procedure, plastic cylinders are implanted onto the soft palate, helping them to stiffen. This prevents vibrating and therefore reduces the incidence of snoring and daytime sleepiness.
  7. Radiofrequency palatoplasty: In this procedure, an electrical current may be used to stiffen and shrink the uvula and soft palate (roof of the mouth). When both of these are stiffer, they vibrate less and lead to a better night’s sleep.
  8. Surgery on the bony structures: This surgery is recommended in the upper airways, encouraging air to flow freely. This may involve more than one surgery.

Before undertaking the surgery, keep in mind the following:

  • There may be some pain present after the surgery.
  • A sleep study must be carried out before opting for surgery.
  • Even if surgery may seem successful, the snoring may return.
  • Ensure that all diagnostic procedures are examined before opting for surgery. You need to rule out other sources of snoring before opting for palatal surgery.
  • Tongue based snoring cannot be helped by surgery.
  • Sleep apnea may develop down the road.
  • Surgery will not cure sleep apnea. CPAP therapy can treat this condition.
  • Surgery is not effective in cases of deep oropharynx (when the side walls have collapsed into each other).

Remember, to do a proper and careful research about the sleep clinic or doctors that will be involved in the snoring surgery. Choose the practitioner who is well experienced and has a high success track record.


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