Millions of people snore at night. While it may not seem like a problem, it could be a sign of a serious health problem, and if left untreated, it could lead to complications. There are over-the-counter products that can help prevent occasional snoring. For people who have chronic snoring, a surgery called somnoplasty might help.
Why a Person May Need a Somnoplasty?
Most people want to avoid surgery if possible. A somnoplasty can help reduce snoring in patients of all ages, but it is only recommended for people who have a serious snoring problem. Snoring can be linked to heart problems and strokes. If a doctor thinks a patient may be at risk for these things, he or she may order a somnoplasty to help lower those risks and keep the patient healthy.
Preparing for the Somnoplasty
Doctors may request that patients prepare for the procedure by doing a variety of different things. As with most surgeries, there are certain things that should be avoided in the days leading up to the procedure. Some of the common preparations for a somnoplasty include:
- Avoiding aspirin
- Avoiding large or heavy meals
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding inflammatory drugs
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoiding alcohol
During the Somnoplasty Procedure
During the procedure, patients will be given a nasal spray that will help to numb the nose and nasal passages. The spray will also be applied to the throat to help numb it as well. The patient will stay awake during the procedure and will need to sit up. A pillow may be placed behind the patient’s lower back for support.
A device that looks similar to a gun is placed in the patient’s mouth and connected to a radiofrequency generator. An electrode is also connected to the divide and inserted in the roof of the mouth. The electrodes heat the tissue around the device. Patients usually do not feel any pain during the procedure, and many find it comforting.
Recovery time is relatively fast for most people who have this procedure. Patients should not eat or drink until the anesthesia wears off. Some patients experience a sore throat for a few days after the procedure. Pain medication or throat lozenges can help ease any pain or discomfort during recovery. Snoring is usually much worse in the days after the surgery. Within a couple of weeks, patients should notice a difference and snoring should cease within three months. Patients should make a follow-up appointment with their doctor within two weeks of having the procedure.
There are some complications associated with the procedure. Because the procedure is not invasive, most complications or side effects are not serious. Complications are rare, but patients who experience any of these complications should see a doctor immediately to make sure they are not severe or life-threatening. The most common complications associated with a somnoplasty include:
- Failure to treat the snoring problem
- Sleep apnea
- Voice change
- Nasal regurgitation
- Prolonged pain
- Injury to the mucous membranes
- Recurring snoring
- Need for more aggressive treatment