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A well-balanced diet, routine exercise and a well-maintained sleep pattern; these are the basic necessities for a healthy lifestyle. In the busy lives of today where all-nighters have been a necessity for school assignments and office projects, a good night’s sleep is termed to be a ‘luxury’ which many cannot afford.

The benefits of a healthy diet and exercise are commonly talked upon. However, people tend to ignore the importance of a good night’s sleep when speaking of a healthy lifestyle.It is during sleep the body repairs itself, muscles recover, brain functions improve, and the body prepares itself for the next day.

With so much junk food around, eating healthy can be difficult. In a busy schedule, following a regular exercise plan can be very hard too. Sleep too has become a luxury in today’s time. But what if the little shut eye you are managing is also marred by snoring! Snoring makes sleeping very difficult for the person snoring and those around him, it also drastically depreciates the quality of sleep and hinders rested recovery.

According to statistics, 45% of adults snore regularly or have someone in their circle who snores; a  common problem for many. That’s a significant chunk! Snoring per-se is not a problem, but when it starts effecting your quality of sleep and life then its a problem. We have spoken about different snoring remedies, ranging from home remedies to throat exercises on our other posts. You can read all about it here –

However sometimes nothing works, especially if the snoring is due to structural problem. In such cases Surgery might be the only option to help you and your loved ones get some quality sleep. So today we will be looking at surgeries for snoring.

Do you need surgery for snoring?

If any or all of the following are the cause of your snoring then surgery will be the best fit for curing your snoring problem.

  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps
  • Large floppy Uvula
  • Large turninate
  • Enlarged tonsils/adenoids

Surgery is considered last resort for snoring and generally doctors are not keen on recommending surgery for snoring. If all else fails, then surgery is considered as last option.

Why so? you may ask. Thats because surgery always carries risks, side effects, pain and comes with no 100% guarantee of cure.

If you are considering undertaking surgery for snoring, bear these points in mind

  • After any snoring operation you will experience pain, degree of pain may vary from person to person and operation to operation.
  • There is no guarantee of success, no surgery comes with 100% success guarantee.
  • Surgery can take time to show results and improvements may not show up until as long as 3 months after surgery
  • Even if surgery is successful, it mayn’t cure your snoring permanently. Snoring can recur.
  • If you gain excessive  weight post surgery, then your snoring can recur. Weight gain is strongly lined to snoring.
  • Surgery does not impact your risk of developing sleep apnea. Inspite of undergoing surgery you can still develop sleep apnea in future.
  • Surgery is not always effective in patients with a deep oropharynx where the side walls tend to collapse towards each other.
  • Surgery is a one way street, once done it cannot be reversed. So even if its not effective, or causes any unpleasant side effects, you have to live with it.
  • At times surgery might provide partial cure by reducing the decibel of your snoring, but not eliminating it entirely.

Before undergoing any surgery for snoring take stock of following:

  • Your alcohol intake is low. High alcohol consumption has been linked with snoring. If you are a heavy drinker, consider cutting back and see if it improves your snoring
  • You have a healthy BMI. Overweight and obese individuals are more prone to snoring. Loose some weight and monitor your snoring for improvement
  • Have you tried any home remedies for snoring? There are various listed here. Has nothing proven effective?
  • Have you considered making lifestyle changes to help with your snoring? Checkout 11 lifestyle changes that can help cure your snoring
  • Have you undergone a sleep study for snoring? Have you been recommended surgery after this?
  • Have you been tested for sleep apnea?
  • Have you tried snoring relief aids and devices available in market?

Now that we have covered everything you need to know before undergoing a snoring surgery, lets delve into the different types of snoring surgery available and what might be the best fit for you.

Surgery for snoring vary based n the cause of snoring. Depending on the problem area different surgeries can be performed. Lets look at the different surgeries based on the organ they are performed on



Uvula

Uvulectomy

  • How is it done:
  1. Uvula is removed completely
  2. Surrounding tissue and organs remain unaffected
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under local anesthesia. Some patients, who have anxiety issues, might require general anesthesia to perform this procedure.
  • Hospitalization – Procedure is done in hospital setting. Usually patient is discharged same day
  • Invasiveness – Highly invasive procedure
  • Complications – Infection, bleeding at site of operation. Some people notice altered speech
  • Pain – Medium to Severe
  • Repeated visits – Unless any complication occurs 1 visit is all this surgery requires
  • Relapse – Rare chances. If uvula was the cause of snoring, its removal usually cures the snoring once and for all. However this does not protect the patient from developing sleep apnea in future.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) Surgery to fix Snoring:

  • How is it done:
  1. Laser is used to remove the excess tissue in your airway which is causing obstruction and resultant snoring.
  2. In this procedure generally uvula is always removed, alongwith some surrounding tissue, which varies from patient to patient.
  3. Surrounding tissue can include – enlarged tonsils /adenoids, soft palate, pharynx.
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under general anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Procedure is done in hospital setting, and a stay of 1-3 days might be required to ensure proper recovery
  • Invasiveness – Highly invasive procedure
  • Complications – Infection, bleeding at site of operation. Altered speech, palatal dryness,
  • Pain – Severe. Pain medications are prescribed.
  • Repeated visits – Follow up visit might be required to check on the healing process f the operated site
  • Relapse – Minimal chances, since the parts are removed. However just like other operations, this too does not protect your from developing sleep apnea in future.

Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) Surgery to correct Snoring:

  • How is it done:
  1. Laser is used to make cuts in the soft palate in order to create scar tissue.
  2. Also laser is used to trim the edges of uvula so as to make it smaller and less prove to obstructing the airway.
  3. Tonsils, adenoids are not removed in this surgery.
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under general anesthesia, some doctors also perform this under local anesthesia.
  • Hospitalization – Procedure can be done in outpatient setting
  • Invasiveness – Moderately invasive procedure
  • Complications – Rare
  • Pain – Severe. Pain medications are prescribed.
  • Repeated visits – For some patients one procedure might not bringing desired result, and more visits might be required.
  • Relapse – Moderate to High chances of relapse, since scar issue softens over time and the floppiness return which causes return of the snoring as well


Palate

Palatal Stiffening by Cauterizing (CAPSO):

  • How is it done:
  1. Palate is cauterized electrically, to cause fibrosis (creation of scar tissue) this will in effect stiffen the palate and reduce chances of snoring
  2. Also if required a vertical strip of mucous can be removed from the palate to shrink it and reduce its floppiness
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under local anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Single outpatient visit is required for this procedure, no subsequent hospitalization is required.
  • Invasiveness – Medium invasion procedure.
  • Complications – Rare
  • Pain – Moderate to severe
  • Repeated visits – Some patients might require more than 1 visit to see visible results.
  • Relapse – Medium chances. Overtime scar tissue will soften and palate will become floppy again. This can cause relapse of the snoring

Palatial Implants/Pillar procedure 

  • How is it done:
  1. 3-5 Tiny implants called pillar are inserted into the soft palate
  2. As tissue heal around these implants, they get enmeshed with the surrounding tissue, thus providing structural support to palate and reducing/inseminating the snoring
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under local anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Single outpatient visit is required for this procedure, no subsequent hospitalization is required.
  • Invasiveness – Medium invasion procedure.
  • Complications – Rare
  • Pain – Low to Moderate
  • Repeated visits – No repeated visits are required,
  • Relapse – Rare chance. If placed correctly pillar can last a lifetime, and keep snoring reduced/at bay.

Injection Snoreplasty

  • How is it done:
  1. Small amount of corrosive chemical called sodium tetradecyl sulfate is inserted into the soft palate
  2. This chemical burns the palate tissue, leading to scar formation. This scar stiffens the palate thus reducing snoring
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under local anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Procedure is done in outpatient visit, however sometimes complication can require hospitalization.
  • Invasiveness – Medium invasion procedure.
  • Complications – If too much chemical is used surrounding tissue can get burned too
  • Pain – Severe
  • Repeated visits – Since minimum amount of chemical is inserted, to avoid excessive damage, some patients do not get satisfactory results in 1 visit. They may require additional visits.
  • Relapse – High chances. Just like all other procedures, scar tissue can soften over time, and palte can resume its floppiness thus briniging back the snoring.

Radio-Frequency Ablation (Somnoplasty) Snoring Surgery:

  • How is it done:
  1. Radio waves are used to heat inner tissue to 85 degree Celsius.
  2. This causes scar tissue formation. Scar tissue stiffens the palate and helps reduce its floppiness and consequent snoring.
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under local anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Procedure is done in outpatient setting.
  • Invasiveness – Medium invasion procedure.
  • Complications – Rare, since scarring is done in highly controlled manner, surrounding tissue damage chances are minimal.
  • Pain – Medium to Severe
  • Repeated visits – Some patients do not get satisfactory results in 1 visit. They may require additional visits.
  • Relapse – High chances. Just like all other procedures, scar tissue can soften over time, and palate can resume its floppiness thus bringing back the snoring.


Tonsils/Adenoids

Tomsillectomy/ Adenoidectomy

  • How is it done:
  1. Surgery is performed and enlarged tonsils or enlarged adenoids are removed completely
  2. No other organ or tissue is tiuched upon during this surgery
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under general anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Procedure is done in hospital setting and 1-3 days of stay in hospital maybe required.
  • Invasiveness – highly invasive procedure
  • Complications – Bleeding at site of operation is most common complication.
  • Pain – Severe. Can last up to 2 weeks after operation
  • Repeated visits – 1/2 follow up visits might be required t check on the healing of the operation site.
  • Relapse – If enlarged adenoids/tonsils were correctly diagnosed as the cause of snoring then this procedure should cure the snoring effectively.


Nose

Nasal Surgery for Polyps

  • How is it done:
  1. Enlarged nasal polyps are removed from the nasal passage
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under general anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Procedure is done in hospital setting and 1-3 days of stay in hospital maybe required.
  • Invasiveness – highly invasive procedure
  • Complications – Bleeding at site of operation is most common complication.
  • Pain – Moderate t Severe
  • Repeated visits – 1/2 follow up visits might be required t check on the healing of the operation site.
  • Relapse – Nasal polyps are usually caused due to allergy, and unless the causing agent (allergen) is eliminated, they can recur. This can also cause relapse of the snoring.

Radio frequency Turbinate Reduction (RFTR)

  • How is it done:-
  1. Using Radio frequency heat, the swollen tissue of turnbinates is shrunk by creating scar tissue
  2. No other tissue is affected as heat is applied in targeted manner.
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under general anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Procedure is done in outpatient setting and hospital stay is not required
  • Invasiveness –  Moderately invasive procedure
  • Complications – Rare
  • Pain – Moderate
  • Repeated visits – Some patients do not see appreciable affect in 1 sitting, and might require 2-3 more visits
  • Relapse – High chances, since scar tissue will soften ver time and relapse can occur.

Septoplasty (Surgery to correct Deviated Septum)

  • How is it done:
  1. Crooked portion of the septum is removed, and it is aligned correctly.
  • Anesthesia – This surgery is performed under general anesthesia
  • Hospitalization – Procedure is done in hospital setting and 1-3 days of stay might be required
  • Invasiveness –  Highly invasive procedure
  • Complications – Rare
  • Pain – Moderate to Severe, pain killers are prescribed
  • Repeated visits – Follow up visits might be required to check on the healing of the operation site.
  • Relapse – Rare if deviated septum is the cause of snoring, once corrected patients report relief in snoring.


This sums up all the surgical options offered as a cure for snoring. Keep in mind any and every surgery comes with its side effects. Also none of the surgery can protect you from developing sleep apnea in future. And lastly inspite of a successful surgery, snoring can relapse if other potential causes like excessive weight gain, too much stress, allergies etc develp in future.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Snoring Surgeries:

Q1 How do I know if I need sleep surgery?

Usually, a sleep study is done to diagnose the problem and its severity to know if a person needs surgery. The mouth, nose and inside of the nose are checked. However, it is important to consult a surgeon before you make the final decision.

Q2 What percent of the time is the surgery effective?

There is no confirmed answer as to the effectiveness of the surgery. It depends on the patient and how he takes care after the surgery is done. There are some medicines to take, and if the patient does not follow as told by the surgeon then it might not be successful

Q3 How much does snoring surgery cost?

The estimated cost of snoring surgery is about $3500 which includes laser and RF procedure. This is the basic cost however if the surgery is more complicated or easier the costs will vary accordingly

Q4 Is a sleep study important?

Yes it is very important, especially if none of the home remedies or sleepiing aids have helped with your snring and you are looking at surgical opetions. Sleep  study will help you identify the exact cause of your snoring and potential treatement options.

Q5 I have sleep apnea what my treatment options are?

It is better if the person follows home remedies instead of just jumping to getting a surgery done. The surgery can be painful and costly. Some of the operations include CPAP, UPPP, LAUP and Somnoplasty

Problematic, annoying and embarrassing; snoring is not only troublesome for the patients but also for those sleeping around them too. If self-help techniques do not work; consult expert doctors in the field, choose a surgical procedure that cures the problem and get it done! Address the problem before your snoring keeps you away from all the fun.

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