Nearly half of all adults snore, but when your snoring gets worse than the occasional nighttime grumble and you’ve found it to be a consistent source of strife, it might indicate that you have a more serious condition. Though snoring surgery may seem a little extreme, for those diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it may be the key to sleep — and a safe retreat from the long-term harm untreated sleep apnea can cause in the long run. When is snoring out of hand, and when does it call for something so invasive as snoring surgery? Should you worry? What does snoring surgery cost? Let’s take a look at some of the basics of snoring surgery so you can be well-informed and ready for a better life. After all, you’re gonna spend about 1/3rd of your life in bed — it ought to be restful!
Is Surgery for Snoring My First and Only Option?
No! Surgery for snoring is, in fact, the last option you should consider, after other attempts have been exhausted. Many snoring treatments are available as over-the-counter options at pharmacies or even simple lifestyle changes you can implement immediately, though sometimes the issue is so severe as to require surgery for snoring. Before resorting to this drastic measure, it’s important to consider what might be done on your end to alleviate less-severe snoring problems. Try some snoring home remedies or snoring aids that may just do the trick for you!
If you suffer from sleep apnea (or severe snoring) here’s what you can you do to potentially alleviate the problem before getting surgery for sleep apnea:
- Lose weight and improve your eating habits to strengthen your neck and throat muscles
- Avoid sleeping pills, relaxants, and antihistamines before bed, so your neck and throat muscles don’t put too much pressure on your airways
- Avoid alcohol and late night snacks if possible
- Establish a regular sleeping pattern (this is also very helpful for improving your quality of sleep and REM/NREM balance)
- Sleep on your side instead of your back or stomach (it’s the proven best position for sleep!)
If these tricks don’t do the trick to help alleviate your snoring, read up a bit on medical treatments that may reduce (or even eliminate) your snoring. Then, consult your doctor and find out what might work for you.
Snoring Surgery — Somnoplasty to Septoplasty
While some of these may sound stressful or confusing, they’re all fairly common procedures that have proven success. If you ever have questions, ask a professional! Your doctor can go in depth on any of these common snoring surgeries to help guide you to better sleep. And hey, if you get a general anesthetic, you’ll get a quick nap in, too!
This is a unique surgical method for reducing habitual snoring in which the uvula and soft palate tissues are either removed or stiffened, to lessen the amount that they relax against your airways. Using low levels of radio frequency heat energy to control burn-areas in the tissues of the soft palate, somnoplasty tricks your body into shrinking the tissue volume with internal scarring — thus stiffening them and reducing snoring. Somnoplasty may sound pretty extensive but it’s a procedure that can take as little as half an hour under local anesthesia!
More commonly referred to as deviated septum surgery, this procedure corrects the displacement of cartilage and bone that divides your two nostrils. During deviated septum surgery your nasal septum is repositioned and straightened in the middle of your nose (basically they break it and then fix it), allowing you to breathe more easily and consistently. It’s a simple procedure, but deviated septum surgery recovery can take as long as six months to a whopping full year for recovery. Is it worth it? If you’re planning on sleeping a year from now, yeah!
3. Soft Palate Surgery (Pillar Procedure)
Your soft palate may be relaxing into your airways too much when you sleep, causing vibrations that manifest as snores when you breathe deeply. The main snoring surgery to fix this problem is called “The Pillar Procedure.” Similar to somnoplasty, The Pillar Procedure is a technique to harden a soft palate, but this technique requires placing small polyester rods under the skin of the palate. Once again harnessing the body’s natural inclination to create scar tissue around a damaged area, the healing of tissues around the rods stiffens the soft palate, reducing palate relaxation and therefore snoring.
Palate coblation is a more recently-developed minimally invasive procedure that deals with stiffening the soft palate in yet another way — radio frequency technology at a low-temperature forms micro-channels in the soft palate that are once again scar-tissued over and henceforth stiffer. If you’re paying attention, the main trick for getting rid of snoring is to strengthen and harden your soft palate. The concept stays the same while the methods change.
What Does Snoring Surgery Cost?
Sleep apnea surgery can be a harrowing monetary endeavor, especially for those who aren’t accustomed to hospital bills. The cost of snoring surgery can range wildly, especially when you factor in differences in insurance coverage and whether or not your snoring is considered a “diagnosable medical condition.” (Hint: obstructive sleep apnea usually is)
With insurance, snoring surgery can cost several hundred dollars at a minimum to upwards of several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the specific procedure, local hospital costs, and insurance premiums. Without insurance, snoring surgery cost can rise quickly up to around $10,000!
Should You Consider Snoring Surgery?
Snoring surgery cost may be a lot of money, to be sure, but it’ll save your sleep in the long run… and maybe your life! However, the success rate of these surgeries are not guaranteed and often times, snoring returns in 6 months to a year. With the exception of deviated septum surgery recovery, these procedures can be both quick and painless, administered in less than a day so you can be sleeping better by nightfall. If you suffer from sleep apnea or severe snoring, ask your doctor about surgery for snoring — you can’t afford to lose another night of sleep over something so crucial as, well, getting enough sleep!