As with any new medical treatment that increases quickly in popularity, a lot of information flies around, and it’s not always accurate. As a clinic that’s performed over 4,000 treatments and carried out our own clinical studies, we decided to ask our nurses who specialise in snoring for some clarification on the most common misconceptions they hear.
Myth 1: Laser treatments will cure snoring and sleep apnoea
Technically speaking, there is no outright cure for snoring or sleep apnoea. There are many treatments, including laser treatments, that can greatly reduce snoring to a manageable level, but they do not cure it completely and permanently.
While snoring treatments may not completely cure snoring, they can reduce it enough to improve the quality of sleep for you and your partner. When you snore, or experience sleep apnoea, you don’t breathe as well, which can affect the quality of your sleep and lead to long term health conditions. The sound can also impact your family’s ability to sleep. Effective treatments can help you to breathe better, and therefore sleep better. They can also bring the noise down to a minimum, so those around you can sleep better, too.
Our client, Warren B., who let us share his story, told us that he used to nod off during the day, but since his snoring treatments, he’s more alert, less drowsy and can work better for longer hours of the day. He said that his wife can sleep better, too.
Myth 2: Laser treatments are painful
Laser technology has come a very long way over the years and we’re able to get better results with much less discomfort. Our laser treatment for snoring is directed to the back of the throat, and it usually has a warm, tingling feeling. Warren says that he had some discomfort during the laser treatment, but “it wasn’t too uncomfortable.”
Many people have a dry throat for a couple of days after treatment, similar to the feeling of catching a cold. The treatment is very well tolerated overall.
Myth 3: Results are instantaneous
The laser works by stimulating the collagen cells in the soft palette to repair themselves and build new collagen fibres. The renewed collagen lifts and tightens the soft palette, so it no longer hangs down into the airway while you sleep, vibrating and causing that snoring sound.
The collagen takes time to rebuild, and one treatment is rarely enough to lift and tighten the soft palette significantly. Most patients require three treatments, and it can take a few weeks following treatment before results become apparent.
Myth 4: Laser is enough on its own
In our own clinical studies, we’ve found that a multifaceted approach works much better than a laser on its own. In addition to laser treatments, we give our patients a very small device to wear around their neck so that we can analyse their sleep data. The device also helps them learn not to sleep on their back. We may also provide lifestyle advice to help reduce snoring, such as minor weight loss or reduction of alcohol intake. Our studies have shown a 94% success rate in patients who complied with the program*, which is significantly higher than patients who had the laser treatment alone.
Myth 5: Laser treatments work for everybody
While laser treatments are effective for most people, some people may not be great candidates. For example, if someone has an exceptionally large tongue that obstructs our ability to access the throat with the laser, we may not be able to perform the laser treatment. In some cases, although very rare, the snoring is so intensely severe that the only way to manage it is to sleep with a cpap machine. It’s important to consult with a professional and find out if laser treatments could work for you before you make a commitment. Be wary of clinics that offer a one-treatment-suits-all approach.
*results as at August 2018