According to statistics, about 30% of the adult population and about 10-14% of children snore. Snoring usually does not interfere with the sleeping person, but it causes considerable inconvenience to his relatives, who often suffer from insomnia, since they cannot fall asleep in the absence of silence.
However, snoring is not just a nuisance. This sound indicates that a person’s airways are impaired during sleep. The appearance of snoring is caused by vibration and beating against each other of the soft tissues of the pharynx, vibrated by the air flow. If the breathing movements provided by the diaphragm during sleep allow air to pass through the obstacle, pulmonary ventilation is not affected or only slightly affected. When the blockage of the airways is serious, breathing stops during sleep (obstructive sleep apnea syndrome) occur, and then the brain and all internal organs of the sleeping person suffer from a lack of oxygen.
Thus, snoring is not only a reason to be angry with the snorer. This is, first of all, a serious medical problem that threatens human health and which a doctor must solve.
Today one of the most popular solutions is snoring surgery. How effective is it? Are snoring surgery indicated for all snoring patients?
Goals and objectives of surgical treatment
Very often, the excess of soft tissues of the pharynx is formed by a sagging soft palate and an elongated uvula. If this particular feature caused the development of the disorder, snoring surgery can be very effective, since excess soft tissue is removed during it.
Surgical treatment of snoring can be performed on the palatine arches and uvula – this operation is called uvulopalatoplasty. Another option is pharyngouvulopalatoplasty. With this intervention, the palatine tonsils are additionally removed. The latter method is more suitable for people with significantly enlarged palatine tonsils and an excess of soft tissues in the nasopharynx area.
If snoring is caused by impaired nasal breathing due to a deviated septum or the appearance of nasal polyps, anti-snoring surgery can be reduced to restoring the correct shape of the nasal septum or to excision of polyps in the nose.
Laser snoring surgery
Laser surgery can help eliminate snoring. Today, snoring surgery is performed with a laser, less often with a radiofrequency method. The advantage of this treatment is the reduced invasiveness of the intervention.
In the case of laser uvulopalatoplasty in the area of the soft palate, its tissues are affected: they are burned by the laser energy. During the healing process, the tissue is replaced by a connective tissue, which, as the scar forms, contracts, providing compaction and reduction in the volume of the operated structures. The excess of soft tissues is gradually eliminated, they no longer sag into the pharyngeal cavity during sleep and do not interfere with free breathing during sleep.
Snoring surgery and its effectiveness
At present, data have been obtained indicating the high efficiency of the surgical treatment of snoring. In 80% of patients who received surgical treatment for uncomplicated snoring, surgery was the solution to the problem. And yet, not all snorers are shown an operative method of dealing with this violation.
First of all, these are patients in whom snoring is caused by obesity. In such a situation, the appearance of snoring is due to the narrowing of the airways as a result of deposits of adipose tissue at the level of the oropharynx. During the operation, the intervention is carried out at the level of the nasopharynx, which explains the lack of the desired effect in such patients.
Snoring surgery is contraindicated for people with complicated snoring, when snoring is accompanied by respiratory arrests lasting more than 10 seconds. This condition is called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
With mild apnea syndrome, the effectiveness of surgical treatment is reduced to 50%, and with moderate and severe degrees of the disease, snoring surgery gives an effect in no more than 20% of cases. Thus, the potential harm of the operation outweighs its possible benefit. This is the main reason for not using this method of treatment for complicated snoring.
Since 5-7% of snoring people have obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, surgical treatment for snoring should be carried out only after an examination that excludes this pathology!