How it Works:
An injectable sclerosing agent, sodium tetradecyl sulfate (Sotradecol or Thromboject) is placed into the soft palate just above the uvula in order to cause a small scar that stiffens the palate, thus reducing flutter. It can easily be done in the office in just a few minutes.
First, the palate is sprayed with a topic anesthetic to numb the surface. Next, the sclerosing agent is injected with a small needle. There is virtually no pain, although patients will often feel a small lump in the throat. Within minutes, the area of the soft palate just above the uvula will turn purple as the sclerosis begins. It is necessary to remain in the office for 30 minutes to observe for possible allergic reactions, though none have been reported with injection snoreplasty. Patients can return to school or work after leaving the office, if they desire.
Within the week, the injected area will turn white and the mucosa will slough off, leaving a small groove. This is not abnormal. There may also be some mild swelling of the uvula. By the end of the second week, the white area disappears and the small groove begins to contract. By the end of the third week, the small groove becomes a thin scar, stiffening the palate. Improvement in snoring should be expected by the fourth week, perhaps sooner. Patients typically do not require pain medication, although this will be provided if necessary. As states, success rates have been 92%, with a recurrence rate of 18%. Repeat injections are sometimes necessary.
No serious complications have been reported with injection snoreplasty. There was one repost of a fistula, or hole in the palate, but this healed without complications. Although no allergic reactions have been reported with injection snoreplasty, there have been reported reactions with the sclerosing agent’s use in varicose vein treatment. Advanced ENT & Allergy PC is a full service allergy practice and equipped to treat such reactions. As with all treatments for snoring, there is a certain failure rate, and no guarantee of success is given with payment for the procedure.
What it Costs:
Most insurances will not pay for the treatment of snoring, if sleep apnea is not present. They will, usually pay for initial consultation to evaluate sleep disorders and rule out sleep apnea. It is necessary to obtain a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea before treating snoring. This sleep study is usually covered by insurance, although the type of study will depend on insurance coverage. Injection snoreplasty has not yet been proven as an effective treatment for sleep apnea. Patients are thus encouraged to choose uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for this more serious condition.
A waiver must be signed, if patients choose to disregard the possibility or presence of sleep apnea when treating snoring. The current cost for injection snoreplasty is $350.00 and is due at the time of the procedure. By way of comparison, the charge for radiofrequency palatal ablation (RFPA) is $1000.00. Routine post-injection visits in the first thirty days are free of charge. Visits for reactions other than snoring or any visits after thirty days will be billed to insurance or billed to the patient.