Snoring Surgery Types
The following snoring surgery procedures are used nowadays:
- CAPSO – Palatal Stiffening Operations
- Somnoplasty – Radio-frequency ablation
- UPPP – Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty
- LAUP – Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty
Other surgery types include:
Radio-frequency Ablation is a relatively new surgery treatment for many problems including snoring. It heats up the tissue to a temperature of 85%, which forms a scar and tightens the tissue. The whole process finishes in a short time and the patient feels less pain than other types of surgeries. It also needs several operations to achieve the desired results. More and more people choose radio-frequency ablation to cure their snoring problem because it is more convenient and has the same success rate as the other procedures.
In short, UPPP surgery cuts some tissues from the back of the throat to make the patient breathe more easily. The tissue to be removed varies with individuals including some section of the soft palate, the uvula, the adenoids, the tonsils, and the pharynx. Patients need three weeks to recover from the operation, and may have difficulties in swallowing during the recovery period. The effectiveness of UPPP surgery is obvious after the operation but may fade away as time passes by. Long term effectiveness rate is below 73%. Another side effect of UPPP is patients may change their voice after surgery. The airways may become narrow in some complications.
Similar to UPPP, LAUP removes the excessive tissue by vaporizing it using a laser. LAUP procedure may be exercised several times to achieve the result. In the LAUP procedure, patients feel more comfortable and less pain than UPPP. But patients go through the same intense pain during the recovery period as UPPP. Since patients may need to take the LAUP procedure for up to 4 times, they will experience the pain for 4 times. The expense of LAUP surgery is less than UPPP. The success rate is about the same as UPPP: around 50% in two years after surgery. People who have strong gag reflex should not consider LAUP as their first choice.
CAPSO is very similar to LAUP except dealing with the tissue using electrical cauterization. During the operation, after a local anesthetic, the electrical cauterization will stiffen the soft palate. CAPSO also needs to be carried out for several times to achieve the desired result. Patients expect the same pains as in LAUP. The success rate of CAPSO is also equal to LAUP.
Sometimes,the soft palate is collapsed and vibrates when air passes it, which causes snoring. Plastic cylinders can be implanted to the soft palate to make it hard and reduce the vibrations.
Similar to implants, injection snoreplasty stiffens the soft palate by injecting some kind of chemicals to it in order to reduce the possibility of vibration. Unfortunately,the effectiveness of this surgery cannot last long.
This surgery cuts the excessive tissue in the nose to let the air flow more easily through the passages of the nose.
This surgery is used to cure snoring caused by deformed or damaged nose. The operation rectifies the passages of the nose by straightening the tissues and bones between them.
Surgery is an invasive option to cure snoring. Typically, snoring suffers resort to surgery after failure of other anti-snoring methods and the snoring problem is very severe.
Not only the patients but also the medical experts consider surgery as the last resort in the attempt of stop snoring because:
- The complications of surgery are prone to occur.
- The cost of a surgery is much higher than alternative methods, and the cost of surgery for snoring problem is not covered by insurance companies because they think snoring is not a medical problem.
- The surgery may conceal the sleep apnea or make the diagnose more difficult.
- After a not perfect surgery, patients may experience intense pain. For some of the surgery types, people need to go through the pains for multiple times.
- The success rate of a surgery is not as high as you might think. In fact, the success rate is around 50% in 2 years after surgery, which means half people will revert to snoring again.
- The change of lifestyle is much more effective for some people to cure snoring. Losing weight, drinking less alcohol, and stopping smoking, outperform surgery in many cases.
Surgery alternatives to stop snoring
As said before, changing lifestyle is an alternative to snoring surgery. But not all people can get rid of snoring by changing their lifestyles. There are other mechanical anti-snoring devices on the market you can try. The most widely used anti-snoring devices are MADs(Mandibular Adjustment Devices), which are reported to have better results in stopping (not curing) snoring at night than surgery. Another type of anti-snoring devices is CPAP(Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine, which is usually used to treat sleep apnea. But some people cannot tolerate a CPAP machine.
Medical experts have the opinion that if there are other options available, do not choose surgery to treat snoring. Patients must endure the pains and hurts the surgery brings, while the success rate is not satisfying and the effectiveness may not keep long. We always suggest people to try a less invasive method to deal with their snoring problem before they resort to surgery.