NightLase® Laser Snoring Therapy is a non-invasive and non-surgical procedure that uses a laser to tighten and shrink the uvula, soft palate, and surrounding tissues, thereby reducing or eliminating snoring. The muscles of the airway become firmer and are less prone to collapse.
Collapsibility of the upper airway (pharynx) in combination with anatomical predisposition (having a narrower airway or large tongue, for example) is the primary cause of snoring and sleep apnea, otherwise known as Sleep Disordered Breathing. This is due to fundamental changes in pharyngeal muscle tone and reflex responses during sleep.
NightLase® Laser Snoring Therapy produces a tightening effect by causing the contraction of collagen in these tissues. This technique has been used for years in other disciplines with applications in vaginal rejuvenation and smoothing of facial wrinkles, for example, but has only recently been applied to the oral cavity. The treatment is performed in our office, and in some cases, you will not need to sleep wearing any oral appliances.
The procedure itself is simple and non-invasive. During a short 20-minute treatment session, the hand piece is used to target the tissues of the region with Er:YAG laser energy. You will feel a warming sensation as the laser gently pulses, creating the desired collagen-restructuring effect. There is no cutting of tissues and no anesthesia required.
Once the treatment is complete, you can return to your daily schedule with no downtime or recovery time needed. You may experience a mild sore or scratchy throat over the next 24 to 48 hours, similar to an irritated throat due to allergies or the beginning of a cold. We will encourage you to drink plenty of water, but no other changes to your routine will be required. The literature does report small transient changes in certain languages which have a guttural component (most notably the languages of the middle east)
Following a simple sleep study (they can be done in the comfort of your own home now!), initial NightLase® Laser Snoring Therapy typically consists of three sessions over six weeks, with each session spaced 21 days apart.
Most patients experience an improvement the night of their first session, but maximum results are typically not seen until after the completion of the third session.
Over 80% of patients notice a significant reduction in the intensity, duration, and frequency of their snoring. Like all laser tightening therapies, results fade after some time and touch-up sessions are required to maintain results.
A single touch-up session is most often done 12 to 18 months following initial therapy. This is actually one of the greatest benefits of NightLase® Laser Snoring Therapy – unlike surgery, no irreversible changes are made to the patient’s throat.
The diagram below depicts an important portion of the upper airway. The closer the soft palate gets to the tongue, the smaller the airway at this point and the greater potential for snoring. A high Mallampati score (class III or IV) is associated with a higher incidence of snoring and sleep apnea.
The goal of NightLase® Laser Snoring Therapy is to increase airway size here and decrease tissue turbulence. Lowering your Mallampati score tends to decrease or eliminate snoring (and potentially sleep apnea) and would be considered successful treatment.
At The Snore Experts, we offer NightLase® Laser Snoring Therapy to treat your snoring and sleep apnea. Call us today to schedule a visit and find out if NightLase® Laser Snoring Therapy is right for you!