Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
Snoring is defined as noisy or rough breathing during sleep, caused by vibration of loose tissue in the upper airway. Surgical treatments for snoring include several different techniques for removing tissue from the back of the patient's throat, reshaping...
the nasal passages or jaw, or preventing the tongue from blocking the airway during sleep.
A physician explains some of the most common sleep disorders like insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome. The video begins by explaining the process of sleep and what occurs in the brain as we sleep. Video and graphic animations are used as teaching tools throughout.
Surgery is also available as a method of correcting social snoring. Some procedures, such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, attempt to widen the airway by removing tissues in the back of the throat, including the uvula and pharynx. These surgeries are quite invasive, however, and there are risks of adverse side effects. The most dangerous risk is that enough scar tissue could form within the throat as a result of the incisions to make the airway more narrow than it was prior to surgery, diminishing the airspace in the velopharynx. Scarring is an individual trait, so it is difficult for a surgeon to predict how much a person might be predisposed to scarring. Some patients have reported the development of severe sleep apnea as a result of damage to their airway caused by pharnygeal surgery. Currently, the American Medical Association does not approve of the use of lasers to perform operations on the pharnyx or uvula.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a relatively new surgical treatment for snoring. This treatment applies radiofrequency energy and heat (between 77Â°C to 85Â°C) to the soft tissue at the back of the throat, such as the soft palate and uvula, causing scarring of the tissue beneath the skin. After healing, this results in stiffening of the treated area. The procedure takes less than one hour, is usually performed on an outpatient basis, and usually requires several treatment sessions. Discomfort and pain is usually minimal. Radiofrequency ablation is frequently effective in reducing the severity of snoring, but, often does not completely eliminate snoring.
Bipolar radiofrequency ablation, a technique used for coblation tonsillectomy, is also used for the treatment of snoring.
In 2000 a study showed that forty-five percent of normal adults snore at least occasionally, and 25 percent are habitual snorers. Studies indicated that Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty was 75 to 100% effective in eliminating or significantly reducing snoring.
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