Somnoplasty, or Turbinate reduction surgery, is a surgical treatment using radio-frequency to remove tissues in the nasal passage. The treatment, which enlarges and stiffens the airway passages, is designed to improve breathing. Somnoplasty is approved in the U.S. to treat chronic nasal obstructions and chronic snoring. The surgical procedure, which lasts around 30 to 45 minutes, is normally administered under local anesthetic, as an outpatient.
Somnoplasty seems like an easy and effective solution for sufferers of habitual snoring. A simple surgical procedure that promises to restore a good night's sleep, that snoring sufferers may not have had for years, not to mention improve the quality of your partner's sleep. But before rushing out to your doctor or insurance company to find out more, let's discuss some of the results and determine how effective somnoplasty procedures have been to eliminate snoring.
Somnoplasty targets the soft palate and uvula, reducing excess tissue. This widens the airway and stiffens the affected area. Both assist in allowing easier breathing through the nasal passages.
User reviews of somnoplasty are very mixed. Quite concerning is that some report having to repeat somnoplasty surgery more than once, and although it is said to be one of the less painful options, it is reported as still being rather painful especially in the first three weeks.
Most statistics claim that success rates for a reduction in snoring for at least one year after surgery are around 80%. This seems very high; however, one must remember that success rates claim the reduction is for up to one year. Remember this means that 20% of surgery fails and results do not provide data for after one year.
Alongside the chance of surgery failing, there is also a possibility of side effects. Although this is generally small, we need to recognize; this may leave someone worse off in the long run.
The common side effects involved in somnoplasty surgery are swelling and discomfort. In the majority of patients this is short term, but in a small number of cases it can be prolonged and require further surgery to correct.
In rare cases, somnoplasty surgery will result in bleeding and infection. This can be cleared up with treatment but will cause considerable pain and discomfort.
Some insurance companies will cover Somnoplasty for sleep apnea since the condition is considered more harmful to health. Only a very select few will cover somnoplasty for snoring. The fact that health insurance does not generally cover somnoplasty at this point may say something about the effectiveness of somnoplasty as a treatment option. However, it could also be that the insurance companies have not caught up with technological changes. As an outpatient procedure, even if not covered by insurance, somnoplasty is one of the more affordable and least invasive procedures.
Somnoplasty has the huge benefit of being relatively non-invasive, reportedly less painful than other surgery options, and administered on a local anesthetic as an outpatient. It's important, however, to remember it is not the only option for nasal surgery.
If the soft palate or uvula primarily cause your snoring, then somnoplasty surgery may be the best surgical option. The only way to find out for sure is to consult a surgeon to determine the cause of snoring.
Other surgical options include both inpatient procedures, such as UPPP, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, uvulectomy, septoplasty (deviated septum), or polypectomy, and outpatient procedures such as LUAPP, laser palatoplasty, or pillar procedure.
Somnoplasty or any surgical option regardless of success rates is costly and risky. So how does it compare to non-surgical options?
Non-surgical anti snoring mouthpieces are normally relatively cheap and easy to test. The problem with non-surgical solutions is there are a large number of different types. The degree of success is hard to measure since the cause of snoring can be individual.
When undergoing somnoplasty surgery, a consultation with a surgeon precedes surgery, to determine if it is the right procedure for you, which may contribute to the high rates of success of the procedure.
Somnoplasty is a relatively simple surgical procedure with high success rates. So, yes, it somnoplasty can be effective in eliminating snoring. However, it is not guaranteed.
However, it also comes with a high cost (if not covered by insurance), and some risk.
Although they are relatively rare, it does have the potential of complications or side effects. Somnoplasty is not the only surgery available for snoring, and to increase the chance of success; it's best to contact an experienced ENT surgeon, who specializes in snoring, to try to identify the specific cause of your complaint. If you have tried less invasive procedures without success, then it may be worth looking into somnoplasty or a similar surgical option.