E-Zzzzz Solution to Snoring Gaining Acceptance
Jeffrey Spiro, MD, has been working with the device for about six months,
and says he needs more follow-up for a more "scholarly" opinion on the
procedure. Still, Spiro was familiar with the Australian study and says they
used single-spot treatment, whereas the manufacturer-recommended treatment
involves creating three lesions during each of two different visits. Following
this method, some studies in the U.S. have shown better results than those in
the Australian study.
"The more general experience would suggest that probably 70% to 80% of
people after two treatments will have significant improvement. We're not saying
complete elimination, but significant improvement," Spiro tells WebMD.
Spiro is a professor of surgery in the division of otolaryngology at the
University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
"It's not that hard to do, it's very well tolerated. The issue is, does
it really work?" asks Spiro. "And I guess the bottom line is: if you
really pick out the right people carefully, then there's no reason why I would
expect you can't duplicate some of the earlier results that have been
published, at least in this country," Spiro says.
Hillman says the findings in his study justify more study and explains that
the procedure may not work the same for everyone. "In most patients,
snoring was substantially reduced, rather than eliminated. Persistent snoring
despite treatment relates at least in part to the fact that not all snoring
results from vibration of the soft palate: vibration of other parts of the
throat can contribute to the snoring noise," Hillman tells WebMD.
An added benefit, says Spiro, is many people come in with a snoring problem
and find they have severe sleep apnea, a health risk which can be treated.
So, the question remains, how well does it work? Spiro says one
California study looked at patients a year later and found about 40% of the
people had some return of symptoms.
"But on the flip side, they pointed out that the technique is so easy to
re-treat, they were able to do that in some cases and actually restore these
people back to a good result," Spiro says. In his experience, "the most
uncomfortable part of it is the initial anaesthesia, where you have to inject
the palate. You know, I give the people prescriptions for a mild narcotic
afterward and nobody fills them. ... [They] use over-the-counter pain
Perhaps the greatest pain for the patient is in the wallet. Insurance
companies place the treatment in the same category as cosmetic surgery, so it's
an out-of-pocket expense. Spiro says the cost for full treatment can range
between $1,500 to $2,000.
- A new treatment called radiofrequency tissue volume reduction (RFTVR) or
somnoplasty can reduce snoring.
- The simple, noninvasive procedure involves burning the soft tissue in the
back of the throat, causing it to shrink and harden, which reduces vibrations
that cause snoring and opens up the airway.
- RFTVR usually reduces snoring, but does not eliminate it, and if the
effects wear off, the surgery can be repeated.