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Snoring

Snoring is generally made by vibration of surfaces together in the upper airway. Most snoring noise comes from the soft palate, and is louder when the mouth is open. Other sites contributing may be the back of the tongue and the nose, and sometimes structures in the lower throat.

Between 30 - 40% of the population snores, and is more common in men. As one gets older, snoring frequency and loudness increase owing to the reducing levels of elastin in aging tissues.

Weight gain, smoking, alcohol, sedatives and back sleeping often make snoring worse. Some other factors are not as easily solved, such as having a small lower jaw or large tonsils. Bad snorers can wake very tired, or suffer from daytime sleepiness. Snoring has also been implicated as an aggravating factor in other medical problems such as hypertension and depression. Fixing snoring does not necessarily solve these problems.

Treatments Available

Options for the snorer are quite varied and depend on where the snoring originates from. This can easily be determined by a doctor with experience in this field. Most people who present to their doctor have tried a range of treatments with limited success.

The Snore-Op ProcedureSnore-Op diagram

Snore Op uses a Radiofrequency Tissue Volume Reduction technique to reduce the noise associated with snoring. Much of this procedure was developed by NZ doctors and is now being used world-wide. Snore Op is a simple procedure that is performed onsite at Henderson Medical Centre. Local anaesthetic is injected into the soft palate at the back of the throat, much like a dental injection. A special probe is then used to painlessly treat two small areas of the soft palate.

Snoring typically gets worse for two or three nights immediately following treatment, and
then progressively gets better over a two month period. At this point, it is a good idea to organize
a follow-up appointment to determine whether another treatment is necessary.

Questions and Answers

Is there any pain?
There is brief and well-tolerated pain at the time of injection of the anaesthetic. Once treatment has been completed and the anaesthetic has worn off, most patients only feel mild discomfort, which is similar to a sore throat experienced with a cold. This discomfort is usually caused by swelling of the soft palate and uvula, and can be minimised by sucking ice.

Can I eat afterwards?
Yes. Anything is OK, but we recommend cold or very cold foods for the first 24 hours after treatment, to reduce discomfort and swelling. An iceblock on the way home is also a good idea.

How likely is it to work?
In a local study of 119 patients, 80% showed a reduction in snoring noise after just one treatment. An additional 10% of patients showed an improvement after two treatments.

Will my voice change?
Slight changes in the voice can temporarily occur. However, these changes are short-lived and only last a few days. Many patients have no voice change at all, even immediately following the procedure.

Do I need someone to drive me home?
Just as with a dental appointment, no.

Post-Treatment Troubleshooting

What do I do if I have significant pain?
Take non-aspirin containing analgesics, such as Paracetamol or Panadeine. Paracetamol is also available as a liquid.

What do I do if I have swelling of the uvula?
Be patient, as this will usually disappear within 48 hours, or sometimes a little longer. In the meantime, use the following techniques to minimize swelling and discomfort:

  • sleep with your head and shoulders elevated
  • suck ice and sip cool drinks
  • some patient’s find an oral antiinflammatory spray (“Difflam”) helps. This can be taken in addition to the analgesics mentioned above
  • gargle with a strong salt solution to help shrink swollen tissues

What do I do if I have trouble swallowing?
Early on, this is caused by the local anaesthetic, which will wear off within two hours of treatment. Later, difficulty may come from either discomfort, pain, or swelling. This phase rarely lasts more than two, sometimes three days. Use the same techniques listed above to minimize discomfort.

Please note: Minor pain and swelling are to be expected following Snore Op and do not require medical attention. However, if you develop a fever, if blood or pus is oozing from the puncture sites, or if you experience excessive pain or swelling, please contact Dr Marks.

Is Snore-Op Right For You?

To find out more, please make an appointment with Dr Rodney Marks for an initial consultation. If you choose to undergo Snore Op treatment, you will also be asked to complete a ‘partner disruption scale’ which is used to measure improvement after the procedure.

 

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