Snoring Operation

“Snoring Operation” – radiofrequency palatoplasty. Help for Snorers.

The “Snoring Op” is a minor operation using modern radiofrequency technology (“Surgitron”) to reduce or eliminate snoring.

Snoring is caused when throat muscles relax during sleep, breathing through narrowed mobile passages.  Tissues vibrate making that familiar aggravating noise.  Soft palate vibration is the usual cause, but the tongue and nose can also contribute.  Snoring can be so loud that sleep disruption results in tiredness and daytime fatigue.  Snoring certainly disrupts the sleep of others nearby, or even in other rooms in the house. 40% of adults snore - men more than women.

Snoring may be associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which can have serious adverse effects on your health and is not usually helped by this procedure.

Is Your Snoring Disruptive?

How badly do you snore?
Does it affect your partner and your family?
Are you, or your family, embarrassed by your snoring on holidays or at family gatherings?
Do they want you to do something about it? Do you?

The “Snoring Op” Procedure.

Numbed with local anaesthetic, a small metal radiofrequency probe is gently inserted in the soft tissue of your soft palate. The floppy areas have a localized burn painlessly applied.  Scarring results, stiffening the palate to vibrate more quietly when you are asleep. This can be simply repeated at 6 week intervals, depending on the severity.

Outcomes

70- 80% of snorers will gain relief with a “Snoring Op”, without the need for any investigation- whether old or young, large or small, etc.  There is no need to wear any devices, or mouthguards.  Results cannot be guaranteed however.

Beforehand

Your nose and throat will firstly be examined and measured for several indicators of snoring, any medical problems are noted along with allergies and current medications, and the appropriate procedure is selected.   Please advise if you have a bleeding or bruising tendency, or have a cardiac pacemaker.

Pre Op on the Day

Take 2 Paracetamol tablets 1 hour before arrival  to minimise any discomfort. These can be repeated every four hours if necessary afterwards.  Avoid Aspirin-related medicines or anti-inflammatories such as Nurofen or Voltaren, and any over the counter medicines for 2 weeks pre-op. A Difflam lozenge is provided to suck for 30 minutes on arrival.

The Procedure

This is done in the sitting position using a bright light to view the roof of the mouth. Local anaesthetic paste is applied to the palate first, then injected through the numb membrane. Keeping your mouth open and neck extended, cradled by a nurse, several 1cm radiofrequency burns are applied painlessly. Some warmth may be felt. A quick rinse and you are free to drive home. The procedure takes 30 minutes.

Post Op

Avoid hot drinks which can burn while the palate is numb from the local anaesthetic.  Cold or icy drinks reduce swelling. Sleep upright in a chair on the first night. Avoid Aspirin, anti inflammatories and alcohol for 24 hours. Initially your snoring will worsen, indicating the procedure has been well placed. After 4-7 days, there is a rapid improvement which continues for up to eight weeks. Be patient, this takes time. Your throat can be a bit sore for several days, and swelling can affect swallowing or your speech transiently. Infection or temporary ulceration of the palate would be suggested with the onset of pain 7-10 days later.

What Can I Expect Afterwards?

You can leave the clinic straight after the procedure and drive if you wish. There is usually no need for time off work. You will be asked to contact our Nurse the following day to report your progress. At the 6 week follow up appointment the treatment can be repeated if required.  Should you have any concerns you are welcome to attend for review at any time at no charge.

How Can I Help Myself?

Improve your lifestyle. Try to lose weight, especially if you are obviously obese. Reduce your use of alcohol and stop smoking. Exercise will improve your general health and assist with weight problems. Try and avoid the use of sedatives such as tranquilisers or sleeping pills. Set regular bedtime habits such as a regular hour for going to sleep, and try to sleep on your side.

Additional Treatment

A similar procedure can be done on the turbinates in the nose if obstructing air flow, and this is quite common in allergic patients. The need for this will be assessed and discussed at the initial visit.  Those with a very long uvula may rarely need it shortened during the procedure.

Sleep Studies.

Pulse oximetry studies to measure blood oxygen levels while asleep may be indicated if a Snoring Op is not helpful, or if OSA is likely.  Appointments can be made for an assessment for a Snoring Op directly or by GP referral. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic without the need for IV or oral sedation.