Surgery and Snoring – Benefits and Risks
So some of you reading this are probably thinking that surgery is a pretty drastic decision for a little annoyance like snoring. Some of you may even think that surgery is your only solution, while others are just interested in learning more about how they can cure snoring in their lives once and for all and get back to having a proper night’s sleep once again.
As you may be aware during normal breathing, fresh air passes in through your mouth and throat, then goes all the way to your lungs. This much is pretty basic however there is more going on than first imagined. Essentially the air passes by different parts which include; the uvula, tongue, tonsils and soft palate. The soft palate is the section behind your mouth. The uvula is also known as the pharynx, it’s the bit that dangles up and down if you open your mouth and look in the mirror you will see it. As is quite often the case many people confuse the uvula with the tonsils which are actually located to the side of the uvula.
When you are awake, your body’s muscles strengthen in and around the throat region by tightening up and holding all these structures together. This strengthening routine prevents these structures from collapsing or blocking your air passage while you are awake.
On the other hand, when you are asleep, the body has a tendency to enter a relaxed state which causes the soft palate together with the uvula to vibrate when you breathe in and out. The resulting sound is known as snoring and as many of you reading this are aware can be genuinely frustrating and annoying to listen to especially on a regular basis.
With that said we will hopefully outline for you the benefits and risks involved with surgery and snoring in order to help you make an informed choice.
Snoring can and may also originate from other sources, for instance, the lining of your throat or at the base of your tongue. Regardless of the origin, snoring is a major issue especially when it becomes a factor in reducing sleep and begins to impact on relationships. There are different types of excessive snoring you should be aware of;
Obstructive Sleep Apnea; this condition usually results in medical problems such as stroke, heart disease, vehicle accidents and so on.
Central Sleep Apnea; this happens when your brain isn’t able to send proper signals to your muscles.
Snoring that is both loud and repetitive is a tell tale sign the above cases of Sleep Apnea may be a factor i.e. (the reason behind the Excessive snoring). However, just because you snore, it doesn’t mean you have either of the above disorders. You need to be assesed by a qualified practitioner and go through a few simple tests that will prove or dispel any medical related health conditions. In most cases, the test only takes a night.
Funny Jokes aside, snoring especially of the loud and excessive type can be a potential indicator of areas in your health and lifestyle that need to be addressed and improved, so don’t ignore the signs instead try and address the problem first. It is worth noting at this point that some health conditions can increase your chance of getting sleep Apnea, so it’s worth your while familiarising yourself with the main health and lifestyle issues in order to be more aware and better advised and prevent further problems down the line.
Conditions that will increase your risk of suffering from excessive snoring
Listed below are the main reasons why you or perhaps a family member is prone to excess snoring.;
Excessive Weight; if you are obese, researchers have found you are more likely to suffer from excessive snoring compared to people with average body sizes. This is because fat will deposit around your airway which will, in turn, obstruct your breathing. Although not everyone who’s overweight will suffer from Sleep Apnea.
Neck Size; believe it or not the size of your neck matters when it comes to sleep Apnea. In most cases, people with thicker neck sizes tend to have a narrower airway. The risk of suffering from sleep Apnea increases when the neck circumference increases to seventeen inches and above in men. While in women, the risk increases when the neck circumference goes beyond fifteen inches and above.
Family history; sometimes you can suffer from sleep Apnea if a member of your family is suffering from the same. That means sleep Apnea in some cases can be inherited.
Age; without a doubt, and tests have proven this that the chances of suffering from excessive snoring mostly increases with age.
Smoking; as we all know, smoking damages your entire breathing system. As well as this, a regular smoker has a much higher risk of suffering from OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) than a non-smoker. Smoking usually increases fluid retention and inflammation in the upper airways. However, this risk drops when you decide to stop smoking for good.
Narrowed airway; you may have been born with a narrow airway or enlarged adenoids or tonsils which blocks your airway. The narrow airway will increase your chances of suffering from sleep Apnea and is mostly prevalent in kids.
Alcohol and sedatives; if you consume alcohol or any sedative before sleeping, you may have a high risk of suffering from sleep Apnea. Alcohol or sedatives can help you sleep although they are best avoided as dependency is a risk and they are only really short term fixes. When they are used they lead to the over relaxation of your throat muscles which will, in turn, cause snoring to develop. That being said, if you choose to stop using alcohol or any sedatives, the risk will also reduce.
Nasal congestion; if you normally have difficulty breathing due to an allergic reaction or any other problem, the chances that you are likely to snore will increase.
Heart disorders; if you are suffering from heart failure or a heart condition, it may be a case where you are likely to suffer from sleep
Stroke; people who’ve suffered from stroke attacks are at high risk of experiencing sleep apnea also.
Of Course there are other reasons why people snore apart from the ones listed above but these tend to be the main ones. Now we will move on to the effects excessive snoring can have on people who snore.
Effects of Excessive Snoring
Did you know that snoring can cause health complications? Additionally, snoring also has other adverse effects on the human body. Snoring reduces the flow of air to your entire body hence causing brain problems. Other complications that may arise from excessive snoring include;
Fatigue; constant sleep interference due to snoring will result in tiredness during the day, and especially in the mornings, and later in the day. At night, your body is continually trying to maintain a regular flow of air. That is why, when you have extreme snoring problems, your body will end up waking you up in order to re-adjust your airway and airflow accordingly. The result is you wake up feeling tired since you haven’t received the required sleep.
High Blood Pressure; when suffering from extreme snoring, some people will experience pulses of sudden blood pressure drops. With that, you are likely to suffer from high blood pressure complications.
Diabetes; if your sleep keeps on getting interrupted by snoring, you are at higher risk to suffer from diabetes type 2 and insulin resistance.
Metabolic syndrome; a condition that is linked to heart disease. Some of the various factors that contribute to metabolic syndrome include; abnormal cholesterol build up, abnormal blood sugar levels, and increased waist circumference.
Liver problems; if you are suffering from excessive snoring, your liver test is likely to show signs of scarring and cirrhosis.
Disturbing the sleep patterns of your partner; without a doubt, if your snoring is loud, you are likely to interfere with your partners sleep too. That can be troublesome and may affect your relationship.
Now that we’ve discussed the possible side effects of snoring, hopefully without you being overly alarmed remember some of the effects outlined above are more common than others so for some people snoring will have the side effect of fatigue for others it may be relationship struggles and for other untreated cases more serious issues.
So now with that said the obvious question is; what can I do to treat my snoring problem?
Fortunately in the world we live in today, there are lots of different solutions to snoring thanks to the hardworking researchers and technological and manufacturing advancements especially in the last number of years. With that in mind, there are a number of different surgical snoring solutions we are going to an overview on that may be an option for you if that is the route you wish to take.
Solutions to Snoring
We have already listed many non surgical ways to tackle the issue of snoring head on. However it is now time to list some surgical solutions that are available to help people suffering from troublesome snoring issues.
Surgical Solutions to Snoring
It’s no surprise to many of you that surgery is listed as a means to help reduce your snoring problem and in many cases eliminate it for good. However, there are Things you should consider before deciding on having surgical procedure to cure your snoring issue. As we know by now, snoring is the sound that is produced when there is vibration in the throat as we breathe in our sleep.
Therefore an obvious statement would be to say that if you remove the element causing the blockage or vibration you will in essence solve the problem. So the obvious follow on would be that this condition can be solved by simply taking a surgical procedure.
While this can be the case for quite a number of people and surgery is useful it is worth noting that as with all surgical attempts there are risks involved and it should not be treated lightly. For many surgery for snoring should be considered after all other viable solutions have failed to deliver the desired results.
The key if you are intent on snoring surgery is to figure out what exactly is causing your snoring problem in the first place with your medical team before any surgical procedure.
Standard surgical solutions to try to solve a snoring issue usually involve the soft palate or the nose. Below are listed the main types of surgical procedures that are available to you.
Types of Surgical Snoring Procedures
New and updated surgical techniques are developed however they need to be tested and developed extensively in order to ensure they are effective and safe before entering the main stream medical system. Listed below are some of the most common anti snoring surgical procedures available that may help your condition;
Congestion in your nasal area is known to cause excessive snoring. The blockage can be as a result of different conditions, for instance, allergies, septal deviation, polyps or turbinate hypertrophy. The last condition is when even though your throat does not vibrate to cause snoring, the obstruction in your airway will result in the snoring.
Non-surgical procedures for correcting this condition, involves the use of nasal saline spray twice a day to try to remove the obstruction while surgical operations will include turbinate reduction or even septoplasty which is the correction of a deviated septum.
Pillar surgical procedure
The pillar procedure involves insertion of three to five polyester materials known as pillars into your soft palate. This procedure is typically done in a surgical room. The first step is administering anesthesia to numb the back of your mouth.
Afterward, the pillars are placed into your mouth. The pillar procedure benefits some patients more than others. As is the case with all surgery, you will need to go through an examination process so that your snoring problem can be identified to ensure this type of procedure is suitable.
This procedure in particular has been proven to work exceptionally well in patients with small tonsils or anyone who had their tonsils removed.
Soft Palate Surgery
This procedure involves operating on your soft palate to help to stiffen it. That is because most times when you snore it is due to the vibrations caused by your soft palate. After this procedure, your soft palate will hopefully be strong enough to avoid any vibrations during breathing in the future.
Tissue Suturing or removal techniques
This technique will help you remove any tissue complications in your soft palate. The procedure can involve repositioning of tissue with a combination of different specific types and uses of sutures or stitches.
Soft Palate Radiofrequency
The idea behind this procedure is to create some scar tissue in your soft palate. This scarring will in turn cause your soft palate to stiffen hence reducing any snoring. Sounds painful right? Well, the procedure is done in a surgical environment by a professional surgeon. It is worth noting that, you will probably have to go through a couple of sessions before the procedure is complete and the desired results are obtained.
Today, there are different radiofrequency procedures based on the same principle. They include; Coblation and Somnoplasty. Contact a qualified surgeon to find the best one for you.
Things you should consider before undergoing a surgical procedure to fix snoring
Just as we discussed earlier, surgical procedures to solve snoring can be a delicate thing. The good news is that you can actually solve your snoring problem for good by going the surgical route. However, there are some important elements to consider. As with everything in life there can be certain downsides and drawbacks.
We have listed some obvious downsides of snoring surgery below. You should take note of these first if surgery is your number one choice right out of the bag. The main drawbacks of snoring surgery include;
Expense; Surgery is an expensive You need to have deep pockets before you even think about this procedure. More to that, surgery to stop snoring might not be covered by insurance. That means the entire money for the procedure will have to come out of your pocket.
Complications; in some cases, complications may arise from unforeseen That is obviously the risk related to any surgical procedure. Surgeries might also result in unpleasant side effects or infections after the procedure is carried out which may need further surgery to correct.
Pain; it goes without saying, you will have to endure pain of some kind shortly after the procedure. That’s completely unavoidable. Additionally, it will take weeks or months before you are completely healed after many procedures.
Success Rate; The biggest disappointment when it comes to surgical procedures to get rid of snoring is that, in the end, there is a chance that you are not genuinely cured of Imagine going through the entire procedure, pay the bills, and you still haven’t gotten rid of your snoring?
Snoring May Return; even if the procedure is initially successful, snoring might return later. This is common when you put on extra weight or neglect certain lifestyle aspects like diet and exercise.
The surgical procedure can only eradicate soft palate related snoring. If your snoring is as a result of your tongue, then without proper diagnosis, it can be hard to differentiate. Therefore the surgical procedure will not help in this instance. Unfortunately, once the procedure is done, it cannot be reversed. So in case of any side effects, there might not be any way to correct it.
The above reasons are why surgery should be considered as the last option to cure snoring. Additionally, the procedure is not 100% guaranteed to cure your snoring problem. The only thing you can do is hope for less frequent snoring episodes. But unfortunately, even that is not a guarantee.
If you are considering going through the pain, bills and also possible side effects after the surgery which may or may not work, make sure you have tried all the other options available to you. If you have tried everything possible and they don’t seem to work, then the risk might be worth it in this instance.
All in all, keep on reading if you are still in search of a solution to your snoring that doesn’t involve surgical means then here are three great alternatives you should try if you haven’t already tried them;
Other solutions to snoring
Exercise; with regular workouts, you will be able to strengthen your throat muscles and hence reduce the chance of snoring. Exercises will also help you shade off extra weight, therefore, decreasing your neck circumference.
Snoring Pillows; these pillows are made to reduce curving of your throat while you sleep hence allowing a steady flow of air. If you prefer sleeping on your back, then this pillow is the best option for you.
MAD mouthpieces; these are devices that are designed to move your jaw forward and open up your airway. More to that, the device maintains this position all night hence you can sleep with ease.
If you found this article useful please like share and coment. If you have questions please post them in the Snorefocus Forum or indeed if you have had snoring surgery or have found a snoring solution please post about your experiences.