When one sleeps, the muscles in the throat relax causing relaxation of the throat tissues. Snoring is caused by the vibration of these throat tissues as air flows by them as one breathes in and out. The soft palate, or the soft part of the roof of the mouth, is one of the main areas that vibrates in this manner.
No one treatment for snoring solves everyone’s problem. Because of this, and as snoring is typically an out of the pocket expense, one tries to treat snoring with the most conservative, painless and inexpensive measures possible. When these simple measures fail, seem impractical, or not likely to be successful, and the snoring remains a significant problem, other measures are then considered.
Injection snoroplasty consists of injection of a sclerosing (or scarring) agent underneath the lining tissue of the soft palate. The medication causes a tightening of the palate tissues over the next few weeks. A tighter palate vibrates less and thus causes significantly less snoring. Approximately 80% of patients who have this procedure done note a significant reduction in snoring. It should be emphasized that injection snoroplasty is not a treatment for sleep apnea (blockage of breathing while sleeping).
The procedure is done in the office using a topical anesthetic spray and the injection of approximately 3 cc of Sotradecol (sodium tetradecyl sulfate) through the open mouth into the soft part of the roof of the mouth. This is the same medication that is injected to cause scarring and thus elimination of spider veins. The patient is observed for 15 minutes after the procedure to insure no allergic reaction (which is rare) occurs. The patient then may leave the office and most carry on with normal activities, although it is probably best not to plan much that day.
Pain is usually mild requiring Tylenol and typically lasts 3 to 7 days but may, depending on the patient and their particular response to the medication, require prescription pain medication. If significant pain does occur this may curtail activity and slow eating for a few days. The injected lining tissue on the palate does slough off and creates foul breath for about a week. Because the palate is involved in talking and swallowing it is possible for problems with these functions to develop anytime one treats or operates on the palate. These problems have been quite rare with injection snoroplasty.
Some patients require a second or third treatment to maximize snoring results. It is also possible that treatment may need to be repeated in a few years. Please contact the office if you have questions regarding this procedure or other snoring treatment options.