Snoring can be a funny situation at home, where everyone can get a good laugh out of the noise that’s coming from a sleeping family member. But unfortunately, this scenario does not remain a comical experience for too long. Both the snorer and their family may soon realize that this is a matter not to be taken lightly, especially if the condition escalates to persistent sleeplessness, disturbed sleep and breathing difficulty.
Snoring is a common sleep disorder that affects millions in this country. Not that this is any consolation for the sufferer or their immediate family, but the good news is there are plenty of snoring cures available (as well as snore specialists) that can treat such disorders.
Now, if you are keen to learn more about this distressing condition and put an end to this problem once and for all, you have come to the best place in the internet. Here we take you on a guided tour of everything you want to know about snoring and more importantly, the cure of this condition by a minimally invasive procedure called Somnoplasty.
First things first, why do we snore?
Before we understand what somnoplasty is all about, let us try to comprehend our normal breathing pattern. The air we breathe follows a specific route before reaching the lungs. The breathed-in air passes through the throat, tongue, soft palate and uvula. When awake, muscles attached to these organs are in a taut state, allowing smooth flow of the air through the airway. But this may not always be the situation when we fall asleep. The muscles may relax, collapse and vibrate. This then causes a sound that is normally referred to as snoring.
What is Somnoplasty?
Somnoplasty, a revolutionary surgical procedure, was developed by Somnus Medical Technologies in Sunnydale, California. FDA approved of this procedure in 1997 as a viable treatment for habitual snoring. Going by the specific technology used in this procedure, Somnoplasty is also referred to as radiofrequency (RF) volumetric tissue reduction of the palate.
Somnoplasty is used not only to treat habitual snoring, but also chronic nasal congestion caused by enlarged turbinates, nasal blockage caused by deviated septum, and sleep apnea.
What are the different tissues involved in Somnoplasty?
Snoring is a result of several types of obstruction in the nasal passage. For example, when snoring is a result of excessive relaxation and vibration of the tissues at the back of the nose or throat, Somnoplasty is done at the level of the soft palate by shrinking and stiffening the tissues of this area. more about Somnoplasty and Snoring >>
If snoring is caused by enlarged turbinates, then somnoplasty may be used to treat chronic nasal congestion and the turbinates are the prime focus of the operation. This significantly reduces the volume of the obstructing turbinates. more about Nasal Turbinate Somnoplasty >>
Somnoplasty can also be used to treat sleep apnea – a condition where breathing stops temporarily while asleep, due to severe blockage in the air passage. Here the tissues involved are those at the back of the mouth, throat and the nose. The tissues located in the upper air passage are shrunk and the airway cleared. more about Somnoplasty and Sleep Apnea >>
What is Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA)?
Radio Frequency Ablation or RFA has emerged to be one of the most accepted medical procedures in the past 15 years. The term ‘ablation’ means cutting or removal. It involves ablation of dysfunctional tissues using high frequency current, to treat a disease condition. The biggest advantage of the RFA is that it does not unnecessarily stimulate any nerve or muscles of the heart. Therefore, it can be used without the need of any general anesthetic. The RFA procedure is commonly used in cardiology, treatment of painful varicose veins, other pain management situations, liver resection, and Somnoplasty, among others.
How does Somnoplasty work?
Essentially, Somnoplasty procedure uses low levels of radiofrequency thermal energy on the relevant sections of the uvula or the soft palate with the aim of freeing the air passage of any obstruction. Depending on the nature of the obstruction, the tongue, throat or the soft palate could be pierced with a sterilized, single-use disposable needle, called the electrode. This is further connected to a low-intensity radiofrequency heat generator. The concerned tissues are heated with the help of the electrode, to a temperature between 158 and 176 degrees within a span of half an hour.
The heat energy creates very small burn areas in the sections where it has been applied. However, over 4 to 6 weeks these get re-absorbed by the body. This in effect, reduces the volume of tissues, as well as renders them stiff, so that snoring is substantially reduced or eliminated.
While the burning causes the inner tissues attached to the concerned obstructive muscle to shrink, the tissues located on the outside (and may contain taste buds, etc) are left untouched.
How long does it take for Somnoplasty to be completed?
This simple and non-invasive surgical intervention uses only local anesthesia and is done at the doctors’ office. While one session of somnoplasty may take less than 30 minutes, you may need more than one session, depending on the severity of snoring, to get the desired results. The second session is usually arranged after 6 to 8 weeks of the first procedure. more about Somnoplasty Procedures >>
Will Somnoplasty cause me any pain?
No matter what kind of surgery you opt for, it is bound to involve some amount of pain and risks. Unlike other surgical procedures though, somnoplasty is relatively less painful, though there are chances of some minor swelling and an uncomfortable feeling immediately after the procedure.
Who are Somnoplasty doctors and where can I find them?
Somnoplasty doctors are specialized surgeons and not all surgeons can perform the procedure. Therefore, ENT surgeons who have received special training in procedures like somnoplasty can be rightfully called somnoplasty doctors.
This may sound strange, but there is a real dearth of somnoplasty surgeons in the USA. According to reliable estimates, there are about 300 somnoplasty doctors who have the knowledge and skills to perform somnoplasty.
How much does Somnoplasty cost?
You may require several treatment sessions to get the desired results of somnoplasty where the cost may vary depending on individual situation and the complexity of the procedure to be performed. Since most insurance providers cover the cost of any reconstructive surgery, reimbursement for somnoplasty is possible as it is performed to rectify a deformity. However, it is best to get a pre-authorization by the insurance provider before you opt for somnoplasty.
It is true though that the cost of somnonoplasty can be found expensive by many. The cost goes up primarily because the procedure requires a disposable hand piece for each procedure.
What kind of somnoplasty results can I expect?
To get a clearer perspective about the Somnoplasty results relevant to your condition, as well as to assess Somnoplasty effectiveness and safety, you can study authentic patient cases and published somnoplasty reports.
From the experiences of patients who have undergone Somnoplasty, the Somnoplasty success rate would really largely depend on the severity of your condition. Furthermore, if you are looking for a therapy option which involves only one session, then this procedure may be a bit discouraging for you. It has been reported that a single Somnoplasty session may be inadequate to fully improve your condition, and you may require more than one procedure to achieve the desired result. more about Somnoplasty effectiveness >>
The Somnoplasty procedure is quite similar to any outpatient surgical intervention. A few of the most common Somnoplasty complications include bleeding, infection, and sore throat, among others. However, most of these side effects do get resolved with time. more about Somnoplasty side effects>>
Learn more about the various Somnoplasty results >>