The National Institute of Health has found that the typical laser surgeries performed on sleep apnea and snoring patients have failed to yield a conclusive result in being effective, saying:
These studies do not provide any evidence of effect from laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty or radiofrequency ablation on daytime sleepiness, apnea reduction, quality of life or snoring.
This is consistent with other usual established hierarchies of sleep apnea treatment: CPAP > oral appliance devices > surgery for sleep apnea
The #1 Cure for Sleep Apnea
According to Dr. Lawrence Epstein, assistant medical director of clinical sleep medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital:
Though losing weight is easier said than done, it can yield real results. “If we can get people to lose weight, it would make both sleep apnea and other health problems [such as heart disease] go away,” says Dr. Epstein. Losing just 10% of body weight can have a big effect on sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, losing a significant amount of weight can even cure the condition.
Sleep Apnea and Snoring are very common types of sleep disorders experienced in about 80 million Americans, and 80% of those people go undiagnosed and untreated. The result of all that sleep deprivation results in billions of dollars in damages and lost productivity to the economy.
One Crazy but Proven Effective Treatment for Sleep Apnea: Singing
For those of us who sing or who have done vocal lessons, workouts, and warmups, it’s not a stretch of the mind or the vocal cords to immediately see the value in exercising the throat specifically for the sake of treating sleep apnea.
One study published in the International Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery concluded that:
“Improving the tone and strength of pharyngeal muscles with a 3 month program of daily singing exercises reduces the severity, frequency and loudness of snoring, and improves symptoms of mild to moderate sleep apnea”.
Another study undertaken at the University of Exeter concluded that:
“Snoring was on average reduced, especially in subjects who performed the exercises accurately and consistently”.
With all these options available, it’s easy to see how stopping snoring and effectively overcoming sleep apnea is more a matter of discipline and regular exercise, rather than unnecessary surgery.
Though no surgeon ever bought a new Ferrari because of it. But I’m sure they’re not losing sleep over all the pain and complications sleep apnea surgery can cause too.