It's no fun sharing a bed with a bulldozer. Yet millions of Americans spend their sleeping hours with a chronic snorer. Learn about the Somnoplasty procedure, a minimally invasive outpatient therapy performed under local anesthesia. This new innovative procedure uses a wand-like instrument that emits radio-frequency energy to shrink excess soft tissue in the upper airway. The following topics will hopefully explain some of the symptoms and potential risks of snoring and sleep apnea and offer a possible solution to those sleepless nights.
What causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when floppy tissue in the airway relaxes during sleep and vibrates. Most snoring is caused by an enlarged soft palate and uvula at the back of the mouth, although the tongue, tonsils, adenoids and congested nasal passages can also contribute to the sound. The level of snoring can be aggravated by excess weight, alcohol intake and smoking.
Is snoring dangerous to my health?
Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a serious disorder in which the snorer stops breathing several times an hour during sleep. Your physician will perform a full examination to determine whether you are a simple snorer or if you have a more significant breathing disorder. Either condition may be easily treated - simple snoring with the Somnoplasty procedure and obstructive sleep apnea by a variety of other approaches.
How will my physician investigate my snoring?
Typically you will be scheduled for an examination with one of our specialists. If you are approved as a candidate for the Somnoplasty procedure and you elect to proceed, an appointment will be scheduled for the procedure itself. A careful examination of your medical history will be done to rule out obstructive sleep apnea. Your specialist will then discuss the best course of action for you.
Am I a candidate for somnoplasty?
If you snore loudly and frequently and do not have other breathing disorders, the Somnoplasty procedure may be a solution for you. A physician in our department will do a screening exam to evaluate your situation and determine if there are any factors that would rule out the Somnoplasty procedure.
What is Somnoplasty?
Somnoplasty uses low-power, low-temperature radiofrequency energy to treat a well-defined area in the uvula or soft palate. The procedure takes place in the our offices under local anesthesia, and typically takes less than thirty minutes. Radiofrequency energy is delivered beneath the surface layer of the soft palate. Since the delicate lining of the palate is protected, the Somnoplasty procedure allows for a quick recovery. Small areas of tissue are heated just enough to create an areas of coagulation. Over the next four to six weeks the treated tissue is naturally absorbed by the body, reducing the volume, and stiffening the area responsible for your snoring.
There may be some swelling and discomfort for a few days following the procedure, not unlike the feeling of an oncoming cold. During the next month or so you should experience a gradual decrease in your snoring, and for most people the problem is resolved. For some patients, depending on your level of snoring after 6-8 weeks, a second Somnoplasty procedure may be indicated.
Somnus Corporation, the developer of this procedure and manufacturer of this machine has an informative web site that we invite you to visit at www.Somnus.com.
How much does it cost?
We have to see you first to make sure that the Somnoplasty will help you and make sure there is no other problems, such as sleep apnea. The initial examination will be $100, and up to three treatments will be $1,700. Payments for these procedures are collected at the appointment check-in, unless prior arrangements are made. We accept cash, checks, Visa, Mastercard, Novus, and American Express.
How do I make an appointment?
Our appointment desk is prepared to answer your questions and send you additional information. Our appointments site will provide you with more patient information or you may call locally at (434) 924-2153, or toll free (800) 251-3627 and ask for the ENT clinic (Otolaryngology) appointment desk
You will be given an initial head and neck examination that the physicians uses to determine if you are a candidate for the procedure. The cost for this assessment is $100.00 and is due at the time of the visit. The initial visit will not be billed to your insurance carrier, as this is an elective procedure.
Upon meeting the conditions for the procedure, you will receive an appointment to return to the clinic for the procedure to be performed. You should have a light breakfast and a clear liquid lunch if it is to be performed in the afternoon; clear liquid breakfast if in the morning. Please be sure that you have someone to accompany you the day of the procedure.
The somnoplasty procedure is an out-patient therapy performed under local anesthesia. Patients who undergo this procedure spend approximately 60 minutes in the doctor's office and typically return to their normal activities the following day. When you come to the clinic for your procedure, you will need to pay for the procedure upon check-in at the registration desk. The cost for the procedure includes a second or third treatment if necessary. You may only need one. After two months you will be scheduled for a postoperative visit for which there will be no charge.
After Your Procedure
You may experience a sore throat for 7-10 days associated with increased snoring.
You may notice that during the second week snoring may become high-pitched. You may begin to notice brief periods when your snoring is noticeably quieter. Snoring will usually begin to diminish in intensity by the 8th week. If you do not notice significant improvement by ten weeks, the somnoplasty procedure may be repeated up to 3 times. The cost of the second and potential third treatment is included in the initial charge.
The nursing staff will assist you with your post-procedure patient instructions.