Those who suffer from chronic snoring can experience negative side effects such as impaired sleep and a higher risk of cardiovascular issues. In addition to implementing lifestyle changes like losing weight and quitting smoking, some snorers require medical intervention to control their condition.
The sounds of snoring are generally the result of an obstruction to the flow of air through the passages in the nose or in the back of the mouth and throat. This partially collapsible region is located near the convergence of the tongue, upper throat, soft palate, and uvula. Snoring can happen when these structures vibrate against each other during breathing, a phenomenon which is especially common while sleeping.
Although sometimes suggested as a course of treatment for snoring, surgery is rarely the wisest option. Surgical remedies for snoring are not commonly used and are only resorted to in severe cases if other methods have proved ineffective. Traditional surgery includes procedures such as uvulopalatopharygoplasty (UPPP), thermal ablation palatoplasty (TAP), somnoplasty, tonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy. These methods increase the size of your airway by removing obstructive tissues or correcting abnormalities. Alternatively, other surgical procedures involve implanting plastic cylinders into the soft palate to stiffen it and prevent it from causing the vibrations that lead to snoring.
Unfortunately, these forms of surgery are often ineffective, as they rarely cure snoring and can involve substantial risks. Additionally, patients with severe snoring are less likely to response to surgical treatment than those with mild obstructive symptoms. Significant weight loss, sleeping on your side, and other lifestyle changes are often more effective measures to improve snoring and related conditions like obstructive sleep apnea. If you find that your own efforts to treat snoring are not effective, consult your physician or an otolaryngologist (also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist). He or she may recommend an oral device to bring your lower jaw or tongue forward while you sleep instead of surgery.