Medical Services – Medical Diseases & Conditions

Somnoplasty

If you’re experiencing chronic snoring or obstructive sleep apnea without relief from conventional treatments, Somnoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure, could be the solution for you!

Overview

What is Somnoplasty?

Somnoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It works by using radiofrequency energy to shrink and stiffen tissues in the upper airway, including the soft palate, uvula, and sometimes the base of the tongue. By targeting these tissues, Somnoplasty reduces airway obstruction during sleep, thereby reducing snoring and improving breathing for individuals with sleep apnea. The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia and often on an outpatient basis, allowing for a quicker recovery compared to traditional surgical treatments. Somnoplasty is considered a safe and effective treatment option for suitable candidates with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or snoring.

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 down right behind the mouth. See figure below.

Somnoplasty Snoring Treatment Illustration

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 a 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.

The Procedure

Before the actual procedure, your doctor will give you an oral spray to begin anesthetizing the throat area. After the throat is anesthetized to a certain extent, your doctor will give about 3 small injections in the roof of the mouth.

The majority of patients find that the process of anesthetizing the throat to be of an only little discomfort.

You will be sited upright and fully awake during the procedure. Your doctor will describe the procedure and demonstrate the equipment.

The somnus device, which is attached to a radiofrequency generator, is placed into the mouth. A small electrode situated at the tip of the device is inserted into the soft palate. Radiofrequency is administered through the electrode. Some parts of the electrode are insulated to protect the delicate surface of the tissue. See figure below.

somnoplasty-snoring-treatment image

By way of a regulated delivery of radiofrequency energy, the tissue is heated in a restricted area around the electrode. The majority of individuals find the treatment to be unexpectedly comfortable.

After Procedure

Due to the local swelling of the treated area after the procedure, more snoring can be expected. Positive changes can be observed in one or two weeks and continue to happen for up to many months.

It is possible to go home as soon as you feel comfortable. Almost all patients can easily drive by themselves home from the hospital. It is important to sleep with your head raised on 2-3 pillows for a few nights after the procedure.

A feeling of heaviness in the back of the throat is usually experienced for several days. By keeping your head higher above your heart, you can reduce edema and swelling. Placing an ice pack to the neck might help relieve the swelling.

A sore throat may be experienced for several days and you will be given medications to treat and soothe the soreness.

Eating or drinking is not allowed until the anesthesia has gone away. After this time, you may move on towards your normal diet as tolerated.

Follow your schedule for a checkup, usually 7 to 10 days after the procedure.

Potential Risks

Somnoplasty is generally considered a safe procedure with low risk, but as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications to be aware of. These may include:

  1. Pain or Discomfort: Some discomfort in the treated area, such as the throat or soft palate, is common after the procedure.

  2. Swelling: Swelling of the tissues in the throat and mouth area may occur, which can lead to temporary difficulty swallowing or talking.

  3. Infection: While rare, there is a risk of infection at the treatment site.

  4. Bleeding: Minimal bleeding is normal after Somnoplasty, but in rare cases, heavier bleeding may occur and require medical attention.

  5. Changes in Voice: There is a small risk of temporary or permanent changes in voice quality due to the procedure’s effects on the soft palate and surrounding tissues.

  6. Incomplete Relief: Somnoplasty may not completely eliminate snoring or sleep apnea symptoms in some patients.

  7. Need for Repeat Procedures: In some cases, additional treatments may be necessary to achieve the desired results.

  8. Rare Complications: Rare but serious complications, such as damage to nearby structures or nerves, may occur.

It’s essential to discuss these risks with your healthcare provider and ensure that Somnoplasty is the right choice for your specific condition and medical history. Most people experience significant improvement in snoring and sleep apnea symptoms with minimal risk of complications.

Recovery

The recovery process after Somnoplasty is typically faster and less painful compared to traditional surgical procedures for snoring and sleep apnea. However, it’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully to ensure a smooth recovery. Here are some general guidelines for the recovery period:

  1. Pain Management: You may experience some discomfort in the throat or soft palate after the procedure. Your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter pain medications or prescribe pain relievers to manage any discomfort.

  2. Diet and Hydration: It’s essential to stay hydrated and consume a soft diet in the days following the procedure to avoid irritation to the treated area. Avoiding spicy or acidic foods can help prevent discomfort.

  3. Activity Restrictions: Your healthcare provider may recommend limiting physical activities, especially strenuous exercise, for a period after the procedure to allow for proper healing.

  4. Follow-up Appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your recovery progress. They may recommend additional treatments or adjustments based on your response to the initial procedure.

  5. Avoid Irritants: Avoid smoking and exposure to irritants such as dust or strong fumes, as these can irritate the healing tissues in the throat and prolong recovery.

  6. Monitor Symptoms: Keep track of any changes in your symptoms, such as snoring or breathing difficulties, and report them to your healthcare provider promptly.

  7. Sleeping Position: Sleeping with your head elevated can help reduce swelling and discomfort. Your healthcare provider may recommend using extra pillows or a foam wedge to elevate your head while sleeping.

  8. Return to Normal Activities: Most people can return to work and normal activities within a few days after Somnoplasty, but it’s essential to listen to your body and avoid overexertion.

By following these guidelines it can help ensure a smooth and successful recovery from Somnoplasty.

If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please email or contact us now.

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