It is a respiratory sound generated during sleep, due to the vibration of the walls of the oropharynx due to partial obstruction in the air passages. Snoring does not stay constant, either in intensity nor in effects; it develops and from an innocent occurrence it can become hazardous and may even lead to apnoea. Apnoea is the cessation of breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds, and can cause significant damage to the heart and the circulatory system, such as hypertension and arrhythmia.
Morning drowsiness, headaches throughout the day, fatigue, behavioural disorders, hypertension, arrhythmia and in children, nocturnal
urination, concentration problems, bulimia and impact on growth.
In small children, a full endoscopic test will establish the presence of enlarged adenoids and tonsils and any rare cases, such as choanal atresia, all of which require surgical treatment. In adults, the tests confirm the presence of a deviated septum, turbinate hypertrophy, polyps, large tonsils, long palatine uvula, soft palate hypertrophy and bizarrely shaped epiglottis, which will help determine the type of surgical treatment required.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, some patients may undergo further examinations that include nocturnal oximetry, sleep endoscopy (to determine the level of obstruction) and even a sleep study.
Treatment can be conservative with the application of positive airway pressure mask or surgery, or a combination. Latest research shows in the case of problems involving snoring and light apnoea, surgical treatment with pharyngoplasty or surgery at the base of the tongue, the epiglottis or the nose can give permanent solutions. Even in more serious cases, there is improvement in the application of the airway pressure mask and the patient’s daily performance. In addition, because many patients give up on the mask, if they undergo surgery then that ensures an important degree of improvement.
Endoscopic surgery ensures the permanent and painless improvement of nasal problems, with high levels of safety for patients. The use of the Da Vinci robotic system for tongue hypertrophy surgery, with its 3-dimentional camera, has clear advantages for the patient, including preventing tracheostomy, better healing and easier swallowing.
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