Long term care of chronic nasal/sinus disease following surgery
- Sleep Apnea
- Snoring and Nasal Congestion
How can nasal congestion cause snoring?
At rest and during sleep, nasal breathing is the natural human state. If a situation exists whereby insufficient air is taken in by nasal breathing, mouth breathing takes over. When nasal congestion forces mouth breathing during sleep, greater negative pressure develops behind the uvula and soft palate. This negative pressure increases the vibration of these “noise-makers” during sleep, helping to create the sound we know as snoring.
What are common causes of nasal congestion?
Nasal congestion has a variety of causes, and a number of medical and surgical treatments are available to treat these conditions. Chronic nasal congestion usually relates to the presence of one of several factors. Seasonal and perennial allergies as well as sinusitis can cause chronic swelling of the lining of the nose and turbinates, which increases nasal congestion. Physical blockages can exist due to narrow intra-nasal anatomy from a deviated nasal septum, large turbinates, or a combination of both. Intra-nasal and sinus polyps, and benign and cancerous growths, can also physically block airflow.
What are some treatment options for nasal congestion?
Treatment of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis typically involves avoiding the offending allergens, taking allergy medications (antihistamines, nasal steroids) and immunotherapy. Sinusitis can usually be managed by treating the infection (with antibiotics) and other contributing factors, such as allergies. The presence of a physical blockage does not necessarily mean that surgery is required. However, if the above treatments have been attempted with continued symptoms, surgery can be very helpful for the patient who suffers with chronic nasal congestion. Surgical treatments for nasal congestion can be performed in the office or in the operating room. Office treatments for nasal obstruction include radiofrequency turbinate ablation (Somnoplasty, Coblation) and laser turbinate surgery. Operating room treatments include correction of septal deviation, turbinate reduction, nasal valve surgery, and endoscopic sinus surgery.
What are other causes of snoring?
Although improved nasal airflow can be very helpful in the treatment of snoring, the diagnosis and treatment of other contributing factors is often necessary to increase the probability for cure. Other major risk factors for snoring include obesity, large tonsils, long uvula and palate, and the presence of a large tongue with respect to the jaw size. In some cases, snoring is a sign of a medical condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea exists when significant breath holding or shallow breathing episodes occur during sleep. A sleep study is generally required to differentiate between snoring and OSA. Similar treatments are beneficial for both snoring and OSA.
- Sleep studies
- Medical treatment/CPAP
- Surgical treatment
- Turbinate reduction
The Pillar Procedure
A simple, effective treatment for sleep apnea and snoring
In addition to interrupted sleep and daytime fatigue, sleep apnea can lead to major health problem like heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Disruptive snoring can also contribute to conflict and stress for both sleep partners.
Now there’s a simple, minimally invasive option for treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and disruptive snoring. The Pillar Procedure is:
* Less invasive and less painful than other surgical procedures
* Completed in a single, short office visit
* FDA-cleared and clinically proven, with results comparable to more aggressive surgical procedures
Most patients soon report a noticeable, lasting reduction in snoring. In a clinical study, nearly 80% of patients’ sleep apnea was reduced. Patients also experienced less daytime sleepiness.
How the Pillar Procedure works
The Pillar Procedure addresses one of the anatomical components of sleep apnea and snoring: the soft palate. During the Pillar Procedure, three tiny woven inserts are placed in the soft palate to help reduce the vibration that causes snoring and the ability of the soft palate to obstruct the airway. Once in place, the inserts add structural support to the soft palate. Over time, the body’s natural tissue response to the inserts increases the structural integrity of the soft palate.
Pillar inserts are made of material used in implantable medical devices for more than 50 years. They are designed to be invisible, and should not be felt or interfere with swallowing or speech. Many patients resume normal diet and activities the same day.
Our ENT team at Associates of Otolaryngology can discuss your best options for obstructive sleep apnea and long-term care in the Denver area. To schedule an appointment at our offices, we invite you to contact us by calling or filling out our online form.