Snoring is caused by the vibration of tissues in an individual’s mouth and/or throat during the natural sleep cycle. These tissues are called the uvula and soft palate. The sound might be soft, or can be very severe, which results in very loud snoring or eventually, a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is a severe form of snoring that causes a person to stop breathing for a short period of time during sleep because the obstruction is so severe. This can lead to high blood pressure and increased risks of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.
The most common symptoms of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Noise from your mouth or nose during sleep
- Restlessness while sleeping
- Daytime somnolence (falling asleep easily during the daytime)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Gasping or choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Enlarged uvula and/or soft palate
- Enlarged turbinates (internal nasal structures that naturally warm and humidify air)
- Deviated nasal septum
- Nasal Polyps
- Nasal congestion
- Enlarged tonsils and/ adenoids
- Overweight or obesity
- Patient History
A history of disruptive breathing, snoring, or sleep apnea is usually reported by the patient. Severe mouth breathing is often a presenting complaint for both adults and children.
- Physical examination
Examination of the oral, nasal, and neck anatomy in the office will allow your physician to determine predisposing factors that are causing your symptoms
- Nasal Endoscopy
A tiny camera (endoscope) is placed through the nose during the office visit in order to identify any nasal blockages such as nasal polyps, deviated nasal septum, enlarged turbinates, or swelling related to allergies. The procedure is quick, painless, and is easily tolerated by adults and children.
- Sleep Study (Polysomnography)
This test is used to measure your sleep patterns at night. It can be done in a hospital, a designated center, or at home using a special sleep monitoring device. Results of the sleep study will help your physician determine what treatment options are available to you.
- CT (CAT) Scan
This imaging study is used to evaluate individual anatomy. CT scans can be used to evaluate nasal anatomy in cases where a deviated nasal septum, enlarged turbinates, or nasal polyps are blocking the nose from breathing clearly.
- Pillar/ Palatal Implants
Small implants are placed into the soft palate to prevent snoring at night. This can easily be done in the office with appropriately selected patients.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UP3)
The oral airway can be surgically improved by tightening the soft palate and removing the uvula and excess palate to improve sleep apnea. This is performed under general anesthesia, and usually in a hospital setting as it may require an overnight say following surgery. Postoperative healing time is typically 1-2 weeks.
- Nasal Septoplasty
Minimally invasive techniques are employed to treat a deviated nasal septum and reduce nasal congestion and allow air to naturally flow through your nose, which reduces snoring and promotes healthier sleep patterns.
A small machine is placed on your nightstand and provides gentle air pressure through a partial face or nasal mask to help maintain an open airway. This is available to patients that choose not to have surgical treatment, or for very severe cases of sleep apnea that may not be treatable with conventional options.
- Balloon Sinuplasty
In conjunction with other anatomic problems, your sinuses can be opened to help promote a natural, healthy nasal environment using an FDA approved minimally invasive techniques that can be performed in the office. Learn more about balloon sinuplasty on our website or in the office.