Hopefully, female eyes will find this post — women are usually the sleep-deprived victims of a loudly snoring man.
Because we concentrate on reconstructive and cosmetic nasal surgery, we see many guys who come in for a rhinoplasty consultation. About half mention their snoring and ask if anything can be done during a nose job procedure to stifle the snoring.
Actually, a handful of conditions cause snoring but allow us to mention what happens just in the nose to cause the nighty log sawing.
The most common situation is a blockage in the upper nose caused by:
- A once broken nose
- Being born with a twisted nose
- “ sensitive to allergies
- A bent, twisted or deviated septum
(The septum is the eggshell-thin partition of bone and cartilage between the nostrils.)
Because insufficient air travels through the nose and into the lungs while sleeping on the back, a patient must breathe through his mouth. The racket of snoring comes from tissues in the mouth flopping around with the airflow, sometimes stopping it.
The basic concept: “Healthy breathing is quiet; abnormal breathing is noisy.”
The mouth breathing of snoring also defeats three important nasal functions: warming, filtering and humidifying the air you breathe.
Snoring not only deprives care-worn mates of rest, it also deprives the snorer’s organs of healthy oxygen levels. Results? Daytime sleepiness, grogginess, low alert levels and, usually, falling asleep early in front of the TV.
Two other things can also stifle quiet healthy breathing: nasal polyps and enlarged turbinates, structures higher up in the nose that perform the warming, filtering and humidifying tasks.
Often, the turbinates react badly to allergies and swell, again blocking one or both breathing channels.
However, the news is far from all bad. Whatever the cause of the nasal blockage, an outpatient surgery can usually cure or greatly improve the condition, silencing the snoring.
To start, an exam of the nose, sinuses, throat and neck by a specialist in head and neck surgery is required.
In our practice, about half of cosmetic patients have breathing woes. Happily (and economically!) that functional surgery can be done in the same surgical session as a rhinoplasty.
Some find relief in deviated septum surgery.
Quipped a happy patient: “Doctor, you took my nose from a country lane to a four-lane super highway.”