If you live with someone who snores or if you suffer from snoring yourself, you will know what a disturbing affect it can have on your enjoyment of sleep and relationships.
According to the Australian Sleep Health Foundation, about 40% of men and 30% of women will snore from time to time. More than 10% of regular snorers suffer from a serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea, where breathing stops repeatedly due to relaxed throat muscles, which is linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
The main factors leading to snoring, include:
The anatomy of your mouth and nasal airways;
Natural aging and declining collagen (loss of tissue tone)
Alcohol or sedative consumption, which relaxes throat muscles;
Smoking which may increase inflammation and fluid in the airways;
Allergies or a cold with nasal congestion;
Sleep position, which can obstruct the airways; and
Being overweight and/or with a thick neck can obstruct airways.
Whilst some of these factors can be assisted with lifestyle and sleep posture changes, snoring often persists. Some sufferers are forced to consider more invasive and painful treatments such as surgery or the use of uncomfortable mouth splints, however, these have varied levels of success.
There is a new laser procedure treating the primary cause of snoring. At Academy Face and Body, we have configured the highly successful V2LR Carbon Dioxide (CO2) laser, used to regenerate and tighten mucosal surfaces, for use on the soft palate. It tightens and shortens the soft palate, reducing vibrations and snoring intensity. The results for our patients have been life changing.
Our laser generally involves 4 x 10 minute in-clinic sessions. Patients can return to their normal daily activities immediately after each treatment.
WHO IS A GOOD PATIENT?
This is a highly effective treatment for people who suffer from the consequences of snoring, nearly all patients will experience a noticeable improvement in their symptoms following completion of the recommended 4 treatments.
However, there are some people who may not be a suitable candidate and it is important to have realistic expectations based upon your age, weight, social-habits and severity of snoring. This will be assessed and explained during your initial Doctor consultation and before you decide whether or not to proceed with treatment.
OUR LASER RESULTS?
Results will differ depending upon the cause and severity of your snoring condition, but nearly all our patients experience a substantial reduction in their snoring symptoms. We estimate that 80% of patients will experience a 75% reduction in snoring after the recommended 4 consecutive Laser treatments.
You should notice an improvement shortly after your first treatment as the thermal damage causes soft palate shrinkage. However, the underlying improvement in tissue tightness and density occur as a result of collagen remodelling around 30 days after treatment and will continue for up to one year.
HOW DOES OUR LASER WORK?
Our laser uses CO2 technology, which is the gold standard in skin tightening. The advantage of the CO2 laser (over other lasers), it that it produces more heat, which has been shown to cause greater contraction of tissue. Importantly, the V2LR laser offers the unique “D Pulse” specifically designed for rejuvenation and tightening of mucosal surfaces.
The treatment delivers maximum heat into the tissue via thousands of tiny fractionated “Dots”. This allows for rapid healing and minimal discomfort. However, it usually requires 4 treatments to get good coverage and the best results.
Each treatment will help reduce snoring intensity and collagen remodelling will continue for up to a year. For “The Science” click here
YOUR LASER EXPERIENCE
You will meet with our Physician to discuss your snoring symptoms and concerns. Our Physician will examine you, run through your Stop-Bang questionnaire and assess your Mallampati score, which is a visual assessment of the distance from the tongue base to the roof of your mouth and, therefore, the amount of space in which there is to work. A high Mallampati score (class 3 or 4) is associated with more difficult treatment and tends to be associated with higher incidence of sleep apnea.
If you are deemed suitable for treatment, you may proceed with your first treatment immediately after the consultation. There is no advance preparation required.
Our laser is a remarkably quick and simple procedure, taking around 15 minutes for preparation and treatment. We recommend 4 treatments over a 3 month period to ensure full coverage of the palate.
The mouth will be dried and the laser will be passed across the soft palate a few times. The treatment is momentarily hot, but is relatively painless. If you wish, a numbing lozenge or spray can be applied before treatment. The following image shows the soft palate area that our laser treats.
Patients can return to their normal daily activities immediately following treatment and there are no side effects. You should notice a slight tightening at the back of your throat and opening of the airways. The process of collagen remodelling continues for 6-12 months after the last treatment.
HOW LONG WILL RESULTS LAST?
For most patients, our laser will reduce snoring progressively over the treatment cycle with optimal improvement a month or so after the 4th treatment, lasting for at least a year or more. However, success and duration of the treatment depends upon the age and laxity of the patient’s soft palate to start with.
Given snoring is influenced by factors such as drinking, being overweight, allergies or a cold, there may be occasions where snoring still occurs, but hopefully not at the former intensity.
Further, as aging tends to relax tissue (including the soft palate), it is expected that even with successful treatment, patients may eventually snore again. For these patients, top up treatments every year or so will maintain and extend the beneficial results.
There are no known adverse side effects to the laser, so patients may have as many treatments as required to overcome their snoring symptoms.
HOW MUCH DOES THE TREATMENT COST?
Medicare or private health insurance does not currently cover the treatment. If you are interested in this treatment, please Contact Us on the web or by phone to receive for more information and current promotions. General treatment pricing information can be found here:
OTHER TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Various treatments and surgeries have been used to treat snoring, including:
For children, removal of the tonsils and adenoids is usually very effective.
For adults, removal of the tonsils and the uvula (the “dangly” bit at the back of the throat), however, this is a very painful surgery and, unfortunately, not always successful.
Fixing a blocked nose with a septoplasty may help, but not always successful.
Dental devices that prevent the lower jaw/tongue from dropping back during sleep can be useful, however, they need to be worn every night and some people just don’t like sleeping with a mouth guard in.
For severe sleep apnea conditions, a special mask (CPAP) can be worn at nights to assist breathing. This is very effective at alleviating symptoms and may be a necessity for some people. However, it must be worn throughout the night, every night, so many people find it uncomfortable and it does not address the underlying cause of snoring.
Where the above treatments do not help or are not considered desirable, our laser offers a quick, effective and non-invasive alternative to help reduce snoring and give everyone a good night’s sleep.