Snoring and sleep apnea occur together. Snoring happens because your airway collapses, and the sound results when you struggle to pull air through a partially obstructed airway. In some cases, air stops moving completely and although your chest may move, your airway is so collapsed that you can't draw in air until you wake up enough to start breathing normally again. This cycle repeats all night and disrupts your sleep and leads to a number of health problems, so your doctor may recommend sleep apnea surgery as treatment. Here's when it may be necessary and the types of surgery that might be done.
When Snoring Surgery Is Necessary
Your doctor will probably try a number of other treatments before recommending surgery. CPAP is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, and it can be effective as long as you wear it every time you go to sleep. If CPAP doesn't work, or if you can't tolerate it, then surgery might be an option. Sometimes, simple solutions work too. Sleeping with your head elevated or sleeping on your side may be enough to stop your snoring and apnea episodes. When other forms of treatment don't help, then surgery could be needed since sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that could cause health problems if it isn't treated.
What The Surgery Entails
There are different types of snoring surgery that help with sleep apnea. Deciding on the right approach involves a physical examination and sleep study testing to find out where the obstruction in your airway is located and what is causing the problem. The obstruction could be in your nose, throat, or soft palate. You might need your tonsils and adenoids removed or nose surgery to straighten your nasal airway and remove excess tissue in your nose. You could need tissue removed from your soft palate. These surgeries can be done in different ways, such as with a laser or using radio frequency ablation that uses heat to cause scarring. It's also possible your doctor will recommend an implant that stiffens your soft palate. Sometimes, you might need a series of procedures to get the lasting results you need to stop snoring and breathe freely during the night.
If your partner complains about you snoring frequently, then that's a sign you should see a doctor about a solution. Snoring is the primary symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, so you don't want to laugh off the problem. A sleep study can confirm the diagnosis so the right treatment can be found to ensure you sleep well at night and don't keep your partner awake because of snoring.