Surgery Options for Snoring

There are several surgical options available to address snoring. In this section, we will discuss some of the treatment options for snoring.

Snoring is sound created by vibration of tissue in the throat (usually the soft palate, or back section of the roof of the mouth) during sleep.  There are a number of treatment options, including conservative steps like weight loss, sleeping on your side or stomach rather than on your back, and avoiding alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime.  Surgery can also be very effective, especially when combined with these basic approaches.  Just like with sleep apnea surgery, the key with snoring surgery is to figure out what is causing the snoring and coming up with a plan that matches the person who snores.  The most common snoring procedures are those that involve the nose or the soft palate.

Types of Surgery for Snoring

  • Septoplasty
  • Soft Palate Surgery
  • Pillar Procedure
  • Somnoplasy
  • Coblation

Nasal Surgery

Blockage in breathing through the nose can be an important part of snoring.  While the nose itself does not vibrate to cause the snoring sound, blockage in the nose can set someone up to snore—and opening up breathing through the nose can make a major difference.  Non-surgical options to nasal blockage start with something as basic as salt water spray (nasal saline) twice a day and can include medications such as nasal steroids or nasal dilator strips.  Surgery can include correction of enlarged inferior turbinates (with turbinate reduction) or a deviated septum (with septoplasty).

Soft Palate Surgery

Because the soft palate is often the structure inside the mouth that physically vibrate to cause the snoring sound, many procedures have been developed to stiffen the soft palate and limit this vibration. This is the area that is widened with the use of a snoring device.These include the Pillar Procedure, soft palate radio frequency, and techniques that remove tissue or use special stitches.

The Pillar Procedure

The Pillar Procedure typically involves the insertion of 3-5 braided polyester implants (pillars) into the soft palate at the back of the mouth. Each implant is 18 mm (3/4 inch) long and is made of a polyester material that has been used in other medical implants for decades. The Pillar Procedure is usually performed in a surgeon’s office, using local anesthesia to numb the soft palate, followed by placement of the implants.  More-recent research has examined the benefits of the Pillar Procedure, showing that there are certain patients that seem to benefit more than others.  The most-favorable patients tend to be those with small tonsils (or who had them removed already) and who are not excessively overweight.

Soft Palate Radiofrequency

Radiofrequency is controlled cauterization that a surgeon delivers to the soft palate with a special instrument.  The idea behind soft palate radiofrequency is to create some damage in the soft palate with the procedure, allowing the healing process to create some scar tissue to stiffen the soft palate.  Usually it is done in 2-3 treatment sessions and is also performed in a surgeon’s office.  There are multiple radiofrequency technologies available, and the two most common are Somnoplasty and Coblation,

Tissue Removal or Suturing Techniques

Many soft palate procedures for snoring can be performed in the office.  The many different techniques have never been compared directly against each other, but they share a common approach to removing or repositioning tissue with a combination of cutting or specific use of stitches.


Eric Kezirian, MD, MPH

Dr. Eric Kezirian, MD, MPH is a sleep surgeon and Professor in the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, California. He is also the immediate past President of the International Surgical Sleep Society.

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5 thoughts on “Surgery Options for Snoring

  1. David Raul Ferrer Reply

    I badly need cure for my snoring. I’m a veterans, I’m 100% disabled with full medical benefit but the system fail me.The VA administration are mediocre and corrupted, specially the dental clinic in VA dental Temple, Texas.
    I have before the mouth piece that partially work for me, Then after a year wear out and request VA to redo it. The beeb since January 2019 and I still waiting for call

  2. Chim Richalds Reply

    Thank you for the snoring surgery options discussion. My dad’s friend’s brother snores extremely loudly and it wakes everyone up all the time. I’m looking for good ways for his niece to help him fix the problem. This will be a big help to her. And probably to my dad’s friend’s brother too!

  3. Jay Jorgenson Reply

    A couple of months ago my family had a huge scare with my brother inlaw. He stopped breathing due to lack of air flow into his body a couple and it really freaked my sister out. I really like how this article talks about permanent solutions like snoring surgery to help people like my brother inlaw get better.

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