Age is no barrier for Laser surgery
Snoring is defined as noisy breathing caused by the vibration of soft palate and uvula by air turbulence during sleep. Surgical treatments for snoring include several different techniques for removing tissue from the back of the patient’s throat, reshaping the nasal passages or jaw, or preventing the tongue from blocking the airway during sleep.
Snoring, whether loud or low pitched, whether caused by uvula or palate tissues, is certainly an indication of sleep apnea.
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is more in older age group as the tissues in the air passage are weak lack muscle tone.
Surgical Treatment methods for Snoring
A number of surgical procedures are available these days to cure snoring and OSA.Most of these patients had sleep study and bought CPAP machine, but cannot tolerate it.
Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty, or LAUP, is an out-patient surgical treatment for snoring in which a carbon dioxide laser is used to vaporize part of the uvula, a small triangular piece of tissue that hangs from the soft palate above the back of the tongue. The patient is seated upright in a comfortable chair in the doctor’s office. The doctor first sprays a local anestheticâ€”usually lidocaineâ€”over the back of the patient’s throat, covering the patient’s soft palate, tonsils, and uvula. The second step is the injection of more anesthetic into the muscle tissue in the uvula. After waiting for the anesthetic to take effect, the surgeon uses a carbon dioxide laser to make two vertical incisions in the soft palate on either side of the uvula. A third incision is used to remove the tip of the uvula. The surgeon also usually removes part of the soft palate itself. The total procedure takes about half an hour.
LAUP is typically performed in one session but needs to be repeated till the snoring disappears complete.
History of Laser surgery for Snoring
LAUP was developed in the late 1980s by Dr. Kamami, a French surgeon whose first article on the technique was published in 1990. Kamami claimed a high rate of success for LAUP in treating a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as well as snoring.. Although some surgeons report a success rate as high as 85% in treating snoring with LAUP, the effectiveness of the procedure is highly dependent on the surgeon’s experience and ability.
Laser Surgery â€“LAUP-Can it be done in old age-Yes
In fact doing laser surgery in old age patients are easy because there is less gag reflex and most patients are edentulous. Doing under a general anesthesia may be difficult in older age group. Also they may have several other associated medical illnesses. One should make sure they are not taking Ecospirin or at least stop it 4-5 days prior to the surgery.
I do LAUP in any age group as long as they are willing and fit for surgery. Large number of my patients are old age snorers.
The patient shown in the picture is 89 years old and came to me with his wife who cannot tolerate the sound of his snoring and 3 of his children are doctors themselves. He underwent LAUP a year ago and now sleeping like a baby!!!!