It is estimated that anywhere from 6 to 50% of the adult population snores, although in general the prevalence may be around 25%. Rates of habitual snoring are higher in males, those with increase in body weight and obesity, smokers, asthmatics and after alcohol consumption. Rates of high blood pressure and heart disease appear higher in snorers as well.
Snoring is not just a nuisance but a health hazard as well. Snoring is not normal. It often forces the partner to leave the room and can cause discord in relationships.
Q: Doctor, why do I snore?
A: Snoring is caused by obstruction of air flow in the nose or the back of the throat. As the laminar flow gets disrupted, fluttering of the soft tissues in the nose, soft palate or throat produces a harsh sound that snorers make. Each snorer sounds a little different based on their body type and anatomy.
Q: Why should I care if I snore?
A: For one, your snoring affects your spouse, your partner or family and if you care about them then you care about their sleep. Second, snoring may be a sign of Upper Airway resistance Syndrome or UARS or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Please see Sleep Apnea Section for more information. Often snoring is the first sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It belongs to the spectrum of Sleep Disordered breathing or SDB which includes primary snoring, UARS and OSA.
Q: What are the hazards of snoring?
A: When associated with daytime sleepiness or OSA, snoring can result in heart problems, stroke or accidents from lack of sleep.
Q: How do you treat snoring?
A: There are many different ways of treating snoring. First we must make sure that you do not have Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA by performing a sleep study. If you have OSA, then OSA treatment outlined in the Sleep Apnea section is recommended. If there is no OSA, then several different treatments can be offered. Lifestyle changes include weight loss, avoiding alcohol and smoking and use of night time sleep medicines and muscle relaxants. Nasal decongestants or nasal steroid sprays and management of allergies may help. Other treatments may also include the following:
- Nasal surgery such as septu correction or reducing the size of the turbinates
- Radiofrequency treatment of soft palate
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the tongue
- Injection snoreplasty
- Palatal PillarTM Implants
- Palatoplasty, with or without Laser
Q: Can these treatments eliminate snoring?
A: Often surgical treatments for snoring will improve snoring but may not result in complete cure. It is important to understand that at the outset. Complete cure may occur but is not a guarantee.
Q: What is injection snoreplasty?
A: An injection of alcohol or a sclerosing agent is performed to cause some loss of mucosa of the soft palate and scarring to stiffen the soft palate and reduce its vibrations during sleep. This is an office procedure.
Q: What is radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the soft palate or tongue?
A: RFA of the tongue or soft palate causes stiffening of the tissues by scarring thereby reduces vibration. After local anesthesia is injected into the tissues tonumb the area a low level radiofrequency current is applied to the soft palate or back of the tongue for about 10 seconds. This results in shrinkage of local tissue and scarring. RFA is performed in the office.
Q: How long do the office RFA procedures take? Can I go to work after the procedure? Will I need more than one RFA procedure?
A: The procedure may take 10-15 minutes but the overall duration including IV sedation/anesthesia may take longer. It is generally advised that you take the same day off from work. Mild to moderate pain may occur after the procedure so remember to take your pain pills as needed. You may need more than one RFA procedure for the soft palate or the tongue to further improve he sleep apnea or snoring.
Q: What is the PillarTM procedure?
A: The PillarTM procedure implants are placed in the soft palate to stiffen the soft palate. They can be removed if not tolerated or may extrude by themselves given that they are a foreign body.
Q: Does insurance pay for in office snoring surgery?
A: Typically insurance will not pay for in office snoring surgery but will pay for sleep apnea surgery, if prior approval is obtained.
To learn more about our Snoring Services, please contact us at (956) 504-5360 today to schedule an appointment.