NEW INNOVATIONS IN THE TREATMENT OF SNORING
At the recent Australian Conference of Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeons there was some new work presented on the surgical treatment of snoring.
The medical condition of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea occurs when snoring and the work of breathing is so severe that people stop breathing for periods of time which can lead to increased problems with blood pressure, heart failure and the increased risk of strokes.
Once diagnosed through a sleep study, the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea is complex and includes many different types of therapy including weight reduction, lifestyle changes, as well as medical and surgical treatments which help to open up the airway in the nose, mouth and throat.
As part of the many different surgical options designed to help treat obstructive sleep apnoea, a technique which allows stimulation of the nerve which helps move the tongue was presented.
By surgically placing an electrical implant, through a skin incision underneath the chin, on certain branches of the nerve to the tongue, investigators showed an improvement in those patients’ breathing and snoring. This was achieved by the stimulated tongue being pulled forward during sleep to open up the airway behind the tongue.
Whilst still in the initial stages of development and assessment it holds considerable promise for a small group of patients who are unable to tolerate other types of treatment for snoring.