Somnoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to treat the following conditions:
- Habitual snoring
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Chronic nasal obstruction
During the course of breathing, air moves through the throat on its way to the lungs.
The air moves past the tongue, soft palate, uvula, and tonsils. The soft palate is the soft tissue constituting the back of the roof of the mouth. The uvula is the notable anatomic structure hanging downward right behind the mouth. See figure below.
Every time an individual is awake, the muscles in the back of the throat firm up to keep these structures in position preventing them from collapsing and/or vibrating in the airway.
While sleeping, the uvula and soft palate often vibrate producing the distinctive sounds of snoring.
Somnoplasty aims to reduce the symptoms produced by habitual snoring, obstructive sleep apnea and chronic nasal obstruction by removing tissues of the uvula, soft palate, and turbinates.
In contrast to similar procedures (like laser), Somnoplasty makes use of very low levels of radiofrequency heat to produce finely controlled localized burn-areas under the lining of the soft tissues of the throat.
These burn sites are gradually absorbed by the body, reducing the tissue volume, opening the airway, and so eliminating symptoms of snoring, chronic nasal obstruction or obstructive sleep apnea.
Somnoplasty is carried out under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting and requires around 30 minutes.