Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes frequent pauses in your breathing throughout the night when excess tissue blocks your airway.
Snoring can interfere with your ability to get a good night of sleep, and you may find that you wake up with a headache, a dry mouth, and feeling unrefreshed. Untreated sleep apnea can even increase your risk of high blood pressure.
Treatments for sleep apnea are determined by the severity of the condition. Snoring without sleep apnea and mild sleep apnea can be treated with many different non-invasive procedures and devices. Moderate to severe apnea is treated with either oral appliance therapy or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP therapy is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. A special mask fits over your head while you sleep, and a steady stream of air keeps your airway open. However, many people report that the mask is uncomfortable, cumbersome, and hard to clean. While CPAP is highly effective when used consistently and correctly, its compliance rate is only about 50%.
In some cases, people opt for surgical solutions to address the root cause of obstructive sleep apnea: excess soft tissue in the throat and nasal airway obstruction.
In this post, Dr. Conrad McCutcheon at Memorial Village Sinus and Hearing in Houston, Texas, dives into some of the potential surgical solutions for snoring and sleep apnea.
Surgical treatments for snoring and mild sleep apnea
When it comes to sleep apnea and snoring, surgery is rarely the first option, but your doctor may recommend surgery if:
- Snoring and sleep apnea affect your health or the quality of your life
- You’ve already tried lifestyle modifications with little success
- The pros of surgery outweigh the cons
- You’re cleared for surgery
Surgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea focus on correcting the soft tissue that’s blocking your airway, so the exact procedure you need depends on which type of tissue is problematic. Surgical solutions include:
Nasal surgeries can help reduce snoring, but the particular type of nasal surgery depends on what part of your nasal anatomy is affecting your sleep. At Memorial Village Sinus and Hearing, we perform several different types of nasal surgery including:
- Nasal valve surgery such as VivAer®
- Balloon sinuplasty
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery, a surgery to remove tissue inhibiting sinus drainage
- Turbinate reduction surgery
You may also find that a combination of nasal surgery and lifestyle modifications is most helpful in reducing your symptoms. For example, losing weight — a risk factor for sleep apnea — and sleeping on your side can help reduce snoring.
Soft Palate Surgeries
Soft palate surgeries address snoring and sleep apnea due to excess soft tissue in the throat. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) used to be the go-to surgery recommended for sleep apnea. However, it is highly invasive and has a long recovery time. Since then, less invasive surgeries have been developed. At Memorial Village Sinus and Hearing, we offer the Celon Prosleep procedure. Celon Prosleep is performed in the office with little or no downtime.
The minimally invasive Celon Prosleep procedure uses thermotherapy to improve airflow, stop snoring, and treat obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. McCutcheon directs heat energy toward the affected tissues at the palate and tongue base via a small, handheld device. The heat shrinks and tightens the affected tissues, allowing more air to flow through your airway.
While you may need 2-4 treatments, this procedure is far less invasive than other surgical options. Each treatment takes only 10 minutes and does not require any downtime.
Don’t let snoring and sleep apnea stop you from getting the rest you need. Call Memorial Village Sinus and Hearing at 281-822-3777 to schedule your consultation. You can also book an appointment online and find out which treatment is right for you.