Troublesome Tonsils and Snoring

There are many humorous recordings of people snoring and plenty of jokes about sawing logs and power breathing, but it can be a very serious problem for those who snore and the people who sleep near them. We now know that snoring and sleep loss can be tied to a variety of medical conditions from sleep apnea to heart disease, weight gain, anxiety, depression and other physical and mental disorders.

Tonsils which are naturally large or periodically become enlarged due to inflammation or infection can obstruct the airway and contribute to snoring. Many other tonsil problems are a bit more obvious because patients have symptoms while they are awake. They can often figure out the approximate location and cause of discomfort during the daytime.

Sleep disorders can be caused by such a wide variety of problems that it may be necessary to have a sleep study in order to determine culprit and rule out other causes. In some cases, while the patient is upright and awake, they may compensate in other ways for a compromised airway and not notice it that much. Sleep professionals can help pinpoint the source of snoring if the cause is not known.

During sleep, the muscles relax and oversized tonsils can cause more vibration and disruption as you breathe. The noise from snoring not only keeps others awake, it may be so loud that it disrupts your own sleeping even though you are not aware of it. Additionally, with the muscles relaxed, large tonsils may actually make breathing more difficult, causing you to toss and turn as your body responds to the shortage of air. Since moving around temporarily solves the problem, you don’t wake up enough to be aware that it is happening, but sleep is still disrupted over and over.

How Laser Surgery Helps Snoring

Lack of sleep can be a vicious circle. The more tired you get, the more soundly you may sleep, thus exacerbating any breathing problem, even a small one. While the tonsils may be basically healthy, having larger ones can still cause problems, especially snoring.

With laser surgery, the surgeon can substantially reduce the size of the tonsils without completely removing them. The laser vaporizes the surface of the tonsils and removes up to 50-70% of their volume without cutting into adjoining muscle tissue. The muscles do not have to heal after surgery and this can mean less pain and faster healing.

The smaller, smoother tonsils are less likely to collect materials like food particles and mucus and much less likely to become inflamed and further enlarged by irritants. They are also less likely to contribute to the noisy vibrations which disrupt sleep, finally allowing for a peaceful and quiet night’s rest.