August 17, 2010

SFChronicle: Say goodnight to snoring with simple surgeries (or not?)

San Francisco Chronicle on Aug 16, 2010 published a story entitled "Say goodnight to snoring with simple surgeries."

Although the article is pretty balanced, especially when discussing how various factors lead to a person's snore, I do feel the success rates mentioned in the article of 80-95% may be overly optimistic when talking about all patients. Such success rates are certainly possible in a select patient population with the appropriate anatomy. Furthermore, the story states that these procedures are not covered by insurance. That's incorrect. At least with turbinate reduction, it IS covered by insurance. Pillar procedure is covered by SOME insurances.

In any case, the Pillar Procedure, as discussed in the article, is performed by placing rods of polyester into the soft palate to make it stiffer and less prone to vibration. Turbinate Reduction is performed by shrinking the inferior turbinates located inside the nose allowing for greater nasal airflow.

Though each procedure DOES help with snoring, there unfortunately are numerous other factors (as mentioned in the article) that can cause a snore including vibration of the throat as well as tongue against the back wall which would not be addressed by these procedures.

A better way to phrase the success rate with these procedures is "80-95% of carefully selected patients find that these procedures help improve snoring. Some may even be cured."

Read the story here.

Read more about snoring here.

Read more about turbinate reduction here.

Some research articles regarding nasal surgery helping with snoring can be found here.
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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