If you’ve tried every anti-snoring device, mouthpiece, and a lifestyle change and still snore regularly, you may be considering snoring surgery to put an end to the problem. Doctors usually only recommend surgery as a last resort, but it can be an effective and permanent solution. Snoring surgery options vary from country to country, but there are many different procedures available in New Zealand.
Most surgeries try to remove, tighten, or reposition the tissues in the mouth and throat, which will open up the airway and prevent snoring. Here are six snoring surgeries that are offered in at least one location in New Zealand:
1. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
UPPP is one of the most common snoring surgeries. It removes the uvula and part of the soft palate, which creates more open space for air to move through without making the tissues vibrate. For most people, snoring happens when the soft palate collapses, so this can be a very effective surgery.
During the surgery, you’ll be under general anesthesia. Most people spend one or two days in the hospital to recover. Several surgeons in New Zealand perform UPPP surgeries, including Dr. Murali Mahadevan, an otolaryngologist in Auckland, and Dr. Tom Kuruvilla, an ENT in Christchurch.
2. Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP)
The goal of LAUP is similar to UPPP. It removes the uvula and part of the soft palate to open up your airway. However, LAUP uses a laser to remove the tissue. The surgery only requires a local anesthetic and takes about 30 minutes. It doesn’t usually require an overnight stay in the hospital.
Some people choose LAUP over UPPP because the surgery is quicker and easier. However, you may not achieve great results right away. The surgery sometimes needs to be performed multiple times to fix a snoring problem.
3. Pillar Palatal Implant (PPI)
PPI is one of the least invasive snoring surgery options. It involves inserting small polyester rods into the soft palate. These rods cause the soft palate to stiffen, which prevents it from collapsing during sleep. Over time, scar tissue will form around the rods, which will make the soft palate tighten up even more.
PPI is meant for people who snore because their soft palates collapse. If you have a large tongue, tonsils, or uvula that make you snore, this surgery may not help. Two New Zealand doctors who perform this surgery are Dr. Tom Kuruvilla in Christchurch and Dr. Wayne Gillingham, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Wellington.
Snore-Op is a minor snoring surgery that was created by a New Zealand doctor. The procedure is formally known as Radio Frequency Tissue Volume Reduction, and its goal is to shrink the soft palate. The surgeon will use a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then, they’ll use a probe to treat the soft palate.
For the first few nights after the procedure, your snoring may worsen. It should gradually get better over the next few months, though. Because the treatment originated in New Zealand, there are many doctors who can perform it. Some doctors and practices who offer Snore-Op include:
- Dr. Andrew Murley in Auckland
- Dr. Andrew Corin in Tauranga
- Dr. Steve Hoskin in Otago
- EastCare Health in Canterbury
- Chandler Clinic in Timaru and Hanmer Springs
SnoreLase is offered at Laser LifeCARE in Auckland. The treatment center reports that it can reduce snoring by 80 percent or more. The procedure uses laser light on the soft palate, tongue, and other tissues in the back of the throat. This stimulates collagen production, which tightens up the tissue and creates more space in the airway.
For full results, patients need three treatments over the course of six weeks. Each treatment takes about an hour and should be easy and painless. The results can last for up to two years.
6. Tonsillectomy or Adenoidectomy
Enlarged tonsils or adenoids are sometimes the cause of snoring. A tonsillectomy and an adenoidectomy are both performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon will either remove the tissue with a blade or use a tool that delivers heat to destroy the tissue.
A problem with the tonsils or adenoids is not the most common cause of snoring, so these surgeries shouldn’t be your first consideration. Your doctor can help you determine whether enlarged tonsils or adenoids are responsible for your snoring. Both of these surgeries are very common and are performed at many hospitals and practices throughout New Zealand.