Surgery is another option for treating problematic snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea Surgery however is by its nature very invasive and non-reversible. Furthermore these types of surgery are known to be extremely painful.

Surgical procedures vary. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty uses a laser to try and widen the airway by cutting down the size of the uvula and by attempting to stiffen the pharynx by scarring. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) applies radiofrequency energy and heat to the soft palate and uvula, the aim is to casue scaring under the skin and thereby stiffen the treated area. The Pillar Procedure also aims to stiffen the soft palate, in this surgery three fibrous strips are inserted into the soft palate itself.

Some private clinics promote these types of surgery as a permanent solution to snoring. However detailed studies into the effectiveness of these treatments are less than conclusive. At present the American Medical Association does not approve the most common type of this sugery (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) which uses a laser to operate on the uvula or pharynx.

Complications after the most common type of surgery (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) may include:

  • A narrowing of the airway from excess scar tissue, making the problem worse.
  • Acid reflux
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • A sore throat
  • A nasal quality to the voice