What is Snoring Surgery?
Snoring is often seen as an annoying but harmless condition. It’s common enough to occur in almost anyone (especially those who are overweight) and tends to affect men more than women. Most of the time, snoring isn’t serious as long as it’s occasional and doesn’t happen every night, even if it’s a nuisance for those around you. However, if you snore on a regular basis, it’s loud and it also affects your sleep quality, then medical treatment is recommended.
Snoring is often caused when there’s an obstruction in the flow of air through your mouth and nose. This can be caused by bulky throat tissues, physical obstructions or even poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue. An appointment with your ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist can often help you diagnose your snoring and find out the reason behind it.
For extreme situations, snoring surgery can be used to help you overcome your snoring problem. It’s often seen as a last resort and should only be considered if other procedures had no success. Before trying snoring surgery, it’s best that you understand what it is, the procedures involved and also any potential risks.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, also known as UPPP, often involves removing the uvula, tonsils and pharyngeal arches and partial removal of the soft palate. It’s often performed under general anesthesia, so the patient will be asleep for the entire duration. While effective, there are some side effects such as postoperative pain and the potential for long-term complications such as long-term voice change, a partial loss of taste and even persistent palatal dryness. UPPP is the only snoring surgery procedure that increases the width of the oropharynx. You will need to stay overnight at the hospital to be monitored during your recovery.
Also known as LAUP, this is a procedure performed under either general or local anesthesia and is considered to be a safer alternative to UPP. The procedure involves vaporizing the free edge of the soft palate and uvula with a laser but can be repeated, unlike UPPP. The number of procedures can vary depending on the desired result. The tonsils are also left with this method. However, there’s no significant difference in postoperative pain when compared to UPP. Considering that this operation must be performed several times, it may be harder to stomach than regular UPPP and you will be required to stay behind in the hospital after your procedure.
Often known as radiofrequency tissue ablation, somnoplasty is a procedure that is performed under a local anesthetic and does not leave any harsh side effects such as pain. A somnoplasty aims to shrink the soft palate tissue at the back of your throat. If the soft palate is too soft and relaxed, then it can vibrate air when it passes through the airway, causing a snoring sound. This procedure is far less painful than other surgeries and has a high chance of success to stop snoring.