June 13, 2007

Layperson's Cure for Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

As people may know from reading our article on snoring on our website, there are many different levels in our upper airway anatomy that may contribute to the noise produced. However, most commonly, the culprit sources are the tongue and palate. Procedures such as the "Pillar Procedure" that has recently received media attention as well as UPPP address only the palate. Procedures like base of tongue reduction, hyoid advancement, etc that address the tongue are more difficult and morbid.

However, I was recently at a conference where a prominent Australian ENT gave a talk where he mentioned one previously unreported way to treat OSA and snoring due to the tongue...

DISCLAIMER: I am not advocating one way or another this treatment! I am just mentioning as something of interest. As always, see your doctor before proceeding with any type of treatment!

Apparently, there is a community in Australia where citizens put tongue bolts in their tongue, not because it looks cool, but because it really, truly helps with snoring as well as OSA. Apparently, when these citizens go to sleep, they place a rubber band around the tongue bolt and anchor it to their front teeth. This method would prevent the tongue from vibrating as it would stretch and stiffen the tongue AND also prevent the tongue from falling backward.

This simple procedure actually duplicates the surgical procedures performed in the United States including hyoid advancement, genioglossus advancement, Repose tongue advancement, etc. All these surgical procedures for the tongue, in essence, try to anchor the tongue forward, just like the tongue bolt/rubber band technique.

Now that's food for thought!
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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