Snoring is caused by the vibrating movement of the uvula and the soft palate that is located in the roof of the mouth. The uvula is the small mass of tissue that hangs down from the middle of the soft palate. When a person sleeps, the uvula and the soft palate relax and vibrating movements occur, causing the snoring sound.
There are a number of factors that cause snoring such as the position during sleep (back is worse than the side or stomach, nasal obstruction, tonsil and/or adenoid enlargement, or other anatomic abnormalities. Some sedatives can predispose to snoring as well as alcohol ingestion. Snoring can also be related to obesity and sleep apnea.
Socially, snoring can a serious problem. It can also affect a patient's sleep quality and be the first signs of potential sleep apnea.
It is important to be evaluated for all causes of snoring by thoroughly examining the nasal and oral airways. We can perform a fiberoptic examination to identify some of the causes of snoring. After a thorough examination, we can offer some potential treatment options.
SOMNOPLASTY is a procedure performed in the office with local anesthesia. A probe is gently placed in the soft palate in specific places and a radio frequency is applied at 3 sites to induce some scarring (lesions) under the mucus membrane which then stiffens and shortens the palate and uvula. Generally, this procedure can reduce snoring about 50-75%. It can also be repeated (if necessary) 9 months later to enhance the effect. It usually takes 20 minutes with little or no prescription pain medications required.
PILLAR IMPLANTATION is also a procedure performed in the office with local anesthesia. It involves placing some mesh strips into the soft palate area to support the palate reduce the vibration and snoring sounds. It also has been reported to help mild sleep apnea.
NASAL CAUSES such as a deviated septum and/or hypertrophic turbinates can cause turbulent airflow that can magnify snoring. These issues can also be addressed during the evaluation to determine if they are contributing to snoring.
We strongly recommend avoiding sedatives at night as well as alcohol 6 hrs prior to sleep. Elevation of the head of the bed can also help as well as nasal moisturization and a humidifier. Treating any allergies may also help reduce snoring. Trying to keep off of the back while sleeping will usually help.