It seems like snoring and sleep apnea treatments are rediscovered and proclaimed by the media as a new "cure," when in fact, it’s been described years before. A British doctor reports that by injecting a scarring agent into the soft palate, snoring is eliminated. The material he used was sodium tetradecyl sulfate, which is the same material that’s been used for varicose veins for 50 years.
This procedure was originally described by Dr. Eric Mair in 2001. He reported a 92% initial success rate, which dropped to 75% at 19 months on average. Most people will need 2 to 3 injections for optimal results. I performed this procedure quite a lot with good results until other, more sophisticated options became available.
It literally takes less than 5 minutes to perform in the office. Topical anesthesia is used in the mouth and a very tiny needle is used to create a bleb underneath the mucous membrane of the central soft palate. After a few weeks of healing, scarring and tightening occurs, which stiffens the palate, lessening snoring vibrations. It can take a few weeks and up to 2-3 months before results are seen. Repeat injections are given as necessary.
There will be some mild throat discomfort, but most people don’t need to take any pain medications. However, a prescription pain medication is usually given.
One important point to remember is that all this does is to stiffen the soft palate. It’s not designed to treat any underlying obstructive sleep apnea. Typically, it’s much less expensive than the more high-tech, sophisticated procedures such as Pillar implants or laser procedures. Because snoring treatments are considered "cosmetic," they’re usually not covered by insurance carriers.
It seems like medicine has a way of forgetting about simpler, more cost effective methods of treatment.
Have you undergone any in-office snoring treatments? If so, how long did it last? Please enter your response below in the comments box.