Does surgery help stop snoring and what are the alternatives

While snoring is often harmless and merely a nuisance for sleep partners, it can be an indicator of severe sleep apnea (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) or result from enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or nasal obstructions. When non-invasive treatments prove ineffective, surgery may be the only option. In this article, we explore various surgical procedures for snoring and their alternatives, ensuring high-quality, informative, and engaging content for our readers.

Types of Surgery for Snoring

surgery to reduce snoring

1) Nasal Surgery

Nasal obstructions can cause snoring, and nasal surgery can help address this issue. Your doctor may recommend the following procedures:

  • Turbinate Reduction: Nasal turbinates are narrow passages responsible for warming and moistening air as it enters the nose. Swelling can block the airway, and turbinate reduction surgery helps decrease tissue size inside your nose, ensuring moist and warm air flows smoothly.
  • Septoplasty: For those with a deviated septum, septoplasty straightens the bone and cartilage that divides the septum, improving airflow.

2) Soft Palate Procedures

Soft palate vibrations generate snoring sounds. Various procedures can be performed to address soft palate issues and minimize vibration:

  • Pillar Procedure (Palatal Implant): Also known as palatal implant, this minor surgery involves implanting three to five small braided plastic rods into the soft upper palate. As scar tissue forms around these implants, the soft palate stiffens, reducing vibration and snoring. The procedure is effective for treating snoring and less severe cases of sleep apnea.
  • Soft Palate Radiofrequency: This procedure uses radiofrequency to damage the soft palate. As the soft palate heals, scar tissue forms and stiffens the tissue, making it less prone to vibration. The two most common radiofrequency technologies are:
    • Somnoplasty – This procedure employs radiofrequency energy to shrink upper airway tissue, enlarging the throat and nasal space for unobstructed breathing. Somnoplasty is effective in treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
    • CoblationUsing low-temperature radiofrequency and saline solution, this procedure gently and precisely removes problematic tissues with minimal risk or injury to surrounding tissue.

3) Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation

This procedure stimulates the hypoglossal nerve, responsible for controlling upper airway muscles, ensuring an open airway. A unique device is surgically implanted and activated during sleep, detecting abnormal breathing and stimulating the hypoglossal nerve to restore normal respiration.

4) Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty

In this procedure, a laser removes soft tissue from the back and top of the throat, reducing the potential for airway obstruction and vibration.

5) Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomy is a procedure in which tonsils are removed to address frequent infections that may contribute to snoring.

6) Adenoidectomy

Adenoids help protect the body from viruses and bacteria, but they can become swollen, enlarged, or chronically infected due to infections or allergies, leading to snoring. In such cases, an adenoidectomy is performed to remove the adenoid glands.

7) Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA)

This procedure surgically moves the upper and lower jaws forward, helping maintain an open airway and effectively treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

8) Genioglossus Advancement

During this procedure, the tongue muscle attached to the lower jaw is pulled forward, making the tongue more rigid and less likely to collapse during sleep, reducing snoring.

Alternatives to Surgery

Surgery may not be suitable for most snorers, and there are risks of infection and complications. Fortunately, several effective and less costly alternatives to surgery are available:

a) CPAP Machines

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a treatment for sleep apnea. The CPAP machine delivers oxygenated air into the nose and mouth through a mask and tube, maintaining an open airway during sleep. CPAP is ideal for sleep apnea patients, as it ensures constant ventilation to the lungs. Consult your doctor or sleep specialist to determine if CPAP treatment is the right solution for your snoring and sleep apnea.

b) Weight Management Program

For overweight snorers, weight loss can significantly improve or even eliminate sleep apnea symptoms. Excess fat around the neck region can compress the upper airway when lying down, causing snoring. A weight management program can help address this issue for those who are physically able to participate.

c) Positional Therapy

Positional therapy is a technique used to treat sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back, or the “supine” position, can cause throat tissues to relax too much and block your airway, leading to snoring. Sleeping on your side can help restore normal breathing. Positional treatment may involve using a special device on your waist or back to prevent lying on your back.


If non-invasive treatments such as anti-snoring devices fail, surgery may be the only option to address chronic snoring. Like other surgeries, there are risks of infection and complications associated with snoring treatments. Possible side effects include nasal twang, nasal reflux, and postoperative pain. Identifying the root cause of your snoring is essential for determining the appropriate treatment. Always consult your doctor before undergoing any surgical procedure. Surgery for snoring and sleep apnea should be considered as a last resort after exhausting all other treatment options.