Can snoring be operated on?
Of course, snoring can be treated with surgery, and as an oral surgeon, I am often at the forefront of evaluating and implementing these options. Surgical treatment of snoring can be a good solution for patients who suffer from sleep apnea or whose quality of life is significantly affected by snoring. There are three specific procedures used in our polyclinic, which I would like to explain here: improvement of nasal breathing, tongue pacemaker surgery and jaw osteotomy.
Interventions to improve nasal breathing: Various structural problems can affect the nasal airways, such as a deviated nasal septum or enlarged nasal turbinates. Surgical procedures such as septoplasty or reducing the size of the nasal concha (conchoplasty) can improve nasal breathing and thus reduce snoring. These surgeries can usually be performed on an outpatient basis and are less invasive.
Tongue pacemaker: When inserting a tongue pacemaker, usually under general anaesthesia, the surgeon places a compact device under the skin in the chest area and connects it via a thin cable to the nerves responsible for tongue control. During this surgical procedure, special electrodes are attached to this nerve, which, when the pacemaker is activated, sends mild electrical impulses to move the tongue and keep the airways open during sleep.
Jaw osteotomy: A jaw osteotomy may be the best option, mainly when snoring is caused by inadequate jaw anatomy. This procedure involves surgically cutting and repositioning the jaw bones to expand the airway. A distinction is made between the mandibular osteotomy and the maxillomandibular osteotomy. These procedures require extensive preoperative planning, general anaesthesia, and postoperative monitoring but have restored the quality of life of many patients after years of suffering.
It is important to me to emphasize that not every patient is suitable for surgical treatment of snoring. A thorough examination and diagnosis are essential to determine the cause of snoring and select the best treatment option. In some cases, behavioural changes or dental braces may be enough to improve the patient’s situation.