Snoring

What is snoring?

Snoring is caused by the tongue, mouth, throat, or airways in the nose vibrating as the patient breathes. It happens because these parts of the body relax and narrow when the patient is asleep. 

A patient is more likely to snore if:

  • The patient is overweight
  • The patient smokes
  • The patient drinks too much alcohol
  • The patient sleeps on his/her back
  • Simple lifestyle changes can help stop or reduce snoring.

Do:

  • Try to lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Sleep on your side – try taping a tennis ball to the back of your sleepwear, or buy a special pillow or bed wedge to help keep you on your side
  • Consider asking your partner to use ear plugs if your snoring affects their sleep.

Don’t:

  • Smoke
  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Take sleeping pills – these can sometimes cause snoring.

Not normally funded treatment or procedure:

There are five procedures which can be done to treat the symptoms of snoring. However, all of the procedures are not routinely commissioned due to poor success rates and the lack of long-term data about their effectiveness and safety.

  1. Surgery performed under general anaesthetic to remove tissues such as the tonsils and glands in the roof of the mouth (adenoids) to widen the airway. This procedureis known as an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty
  2. Laser surgery performed under general anaesthetic to remove parts of the soft tissue in the throat and the roof of the mouth, which can be repeated to widen the airway. This procedure is known as a laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty
  3. Using an electric current through a metal probe which conducts heat to remove through soft tissue in the throat under general anaesthetic. This procedure is known as a platal stiffening operation
  4. A hollow needle with an implant to pierce the soft tissue at the back of the throat into the muscle layer. This procedure is repeated 2-3 times, as the implant will stiffen the tissue at the back of the throat. This procedure is known as palate implants
  5. Radio-frequency ablation (somnoplasty): an electrode device is put into the mouth,with the patient under general anaesthetic, and a needle tip makes very shallow holes in the underlying muscle at the back of the throat. The radio-frequency energy is delivered at each hole to stiffen the tissue. This procedure is known as radio-frequency ablation (somnoplasty).

All of the procedures are not routinely commissioned due to poor success rates and the lack of long-term data about their effectiveness. This means that the CCG will ONLY fund the treatment if an Individual Funding Request (IFR) application proves exceptional clinical need and this is supported by the CCG. See separate leaflet for more information on Individual Funding Requests (IFRs).

Advice and further guidance

For more information, search for ‘snoring’ on the NHS UK website

Treatment policy for patients covered by NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG