Giant uvula - shave it down? Remove it?
October 19, 2004 6:01 AM   Subscribe

SnoreFilter: Apparently, I have a giant uvula. One that's flopping around in my throat at night and keeping my girlfriend up with its monsterous noise. At least, that's what the ENT doctor said. She recommended Radiosurgery to either shave the uvula down or remove it completely and make more space in my throat. Has anyone heard of/had this procedure done?
posted by emptybowl to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
An ex-boss of mine had it done. Said it hurt like the worst sore throat in the world for a few days, but other than that it wasn't a big deal.

...he also said it didn't do much for his snoring, but YMMV.
posted by aramaic at 8:31 AM on October 19, 2004

Response by poster: Follow-Up question....Has anyone tried either of these?

Silent Nite
posted by emptybowl at 8:35 AM on October 19, 2004

Have you tried sleeping on your side?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:46 AM on October 19, 2004

I snore like ... well, like somebody who snores a lot, particularly when I sleep on my back. (I also have these dreams where I have to hold my breath for some reason or other, which seem to correspond to snoring and/or stopping breathing.) Anyway, one thing that helps a little is those Breathe-EZ strips -- the springy, self-adhesive plastic strips that you stick across the bridge of your nose. And I remember reading, as a kid, about an old wives' trick: sewing a golf ball into the back of the snorer's pajamas. Makes it uncomfortable to sleep on your back, so you roll over to the side, even if you're not awake. Might want to try one of those before going under the knife.

BTW, I've also heard that the surgery doesn't always work.
posted by spacewrench at 9:36 AM on October 19, 2004

Response by poster: Have you tried sleeping on your side?

I can only fall asleep on my stomach, but I roll around A LOT while sleeping. The snoring doesn't seem to only happen when I'm on my back, either. I've tried the Breathe-EZ strips, too, and they don't help at all.
posted by emptybowl at 10:11 AM on October 19, 2004

My father-in-law had this done, and as you might have guessed from some of the comments, it was only of limited success. But he is also obese, which doesn't help at all. If I were you I'd get evaluated for apnea, which sounds like snoring but is actually the cessation of breathing during sleep. The snoring is actually you waking up to start breathing again. There are devices you can wear during sleep that help you to breathe, these may be more effective than the surgery.
posted by tommasz at 11:00 AM on October 19, 2004

To follow on what tommasz said: make sure this isn't apnea. That's not a fun condition, from what I understand, and it seems to be commonly misdiagnosed (I've known two people with it, and both had gone for years before a doc realized what their problem was -- but this is purely anecdotal "evidence" on my part).

Are you sure it isn't sleep apnea?
posted by aramaic at 11:50 AM on October 19, 2004

Shamelessly piggy-backing on another's question: Do those breathe-right strips work?
posted by Vidiot at 2:02 PM on October 19, 2004

Those breathe-right strips don't work for crap, in my experience, but let me personally reiterate the suggestion that you get tested for sleep apnea, especially if you're having dreams about holding your breath and your SO is telling you that you stop breathing in your sleep. (And if you're feeling tired all the time, run, don't walk, to get a sleep study done.)

If your (hypothetical) apnea is only due to your uvula, then the procedure might help, so you might want to give it a shot. No matter what, though, if you've got apnea, and you get it treated, it's life-changing.
posted by LairBob at 2:17 PM on October 19, 2004

My dad snores like a mo-fo. Drove my mom crazy for 30 years and he never slept well, always falling asleep in meetings, drinking tons of coffee, etc. Finally, he went to a doctor who diagnosed him with sleep apnea and recommended a CPAP machine . He said it can be a little awkward to sleep with, but he now wakes up well rested..
posted by j at 4:51 PM on October 19, 2004

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) and obstructive sleep apnea are two topics you might do well to Google for, or consult the usual medical resources.

Surgeons tend to think in terms of procedures, not diagnoses, but if pharyngeal surgery has been recommended for excessive snoring, you have been diagnosed (probably incidentally, in the cutter's view) with obstructive sleep apnea. This is well to find out about, as it is associated with increased risk for excessive daytime somnolence, car accidents, depression, right heart failure, and early death.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:16 PM on October 20, 2004

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