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Snoring
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BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM

Sleep

Snoring is loud, hoarse, or harsh breathing sounds that happen while you are asleep. Snoring affects about half of men and 25 percent of women — most age 40 or older. It occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, creating hoarse or harsh sounds.

Treatment

When lifestyle changes don't eliminate snoring, your doctor may suggest:

  • Traditional surgery. You're given general anesthesia while your surgeon tightens and trims excess tissues — a type of face-lift for your throat. The procedure reduces the intensity of snoring most of the time. It's a painful procedure and requires one to three days' hospitalization and about a two-week recovery.

  • Laser surgery. In an outpatient surgery for snoring called laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP), your doctor uses a small hand-held laser beam to shorten the soft palate and remove the uvula. Removing excess tissue enlarges your airway and reduces vibration. Treatments are based on the severity of your snoring. You may need two to five sessions, each lasting about 30 minutes. These treatments occur four to six weeks apart. Laser surgery isn't advised for occasional or light snoring, but it's an option if your snoring is loud and disruptive. Laser surgery isn't recommended for sleep apnea.

  • Radiofrequency tissue volume reduction (somnoplasty). In this type of surgery, doctors use a low-intensity radiofrequency signal to remove part of the soft palate to reduce snoring. It's an outpatient procedure performed using local anesthesia. The technique causes slight scarring of the soft palate, which may help to reduce snoring. The effectiveness of this newer procedure needs further study.

  • Dental devices and nasal strips. Dental devices are form-fitting mouthpieces that help advance the position of your tongue and soft palate to keep your air passage open. Nasal strips help many people increase the area of their nasal passage, enhancing their breathing.

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This approach involves wearing a pressurized mask over your nose while you sleep. The mask is attached to a small pump that forces air through your airway to keep it from collapsing. CPAP (SEE-pap) eliminates snoring and prevents sleep apnea. Although CPAP is the preferred method of treating sleep apnea, many people find it cumbersome and uncomfortable.

 

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 02:17 AM