One of the nicest things about living in the 21st century is the amount of surgical options available to more people, including more and more people in the developing world (though, obviously, not enough).
Quite sincerely, countless numbers of lives have been outright saved, or inestimably improved, due to surgery. I doubt youd find anyone who would absolutely conclude that surgery, as a concept, is a mistake; or that we should long for pre-surgery days, where infections and ailments so easily morphed into life-threatening conditions. Yet (and yes, theres always a yet!), there is a bit of a cloud attached to this surgical silver lining. We now live in a world that is, for all intents and purposes, addicted to surgery. It has become the first option and in some cases, the only option that both doctors and patients consider when trying to remedy a problem.
Nobody wants to return to a pre-surgical world, where procedures that are swiftly addressed today would otherwise render a sufferer in agony for years; or perhaps even hasten an early death.
The problem is that some people rely on surgery as an automatic fix. Whats that old saying: if all you have is a hammer in your hand, then everything looks like a nail? For some people, this is regrettably true when it comes to surgery; every health ailment that they see is worthy of surgery.
Yet these same people would probably seriously reconsider their views when faced with the substantiated evidence that surgery is not often working for snorers (and their loved ones).
Sometimes, what is lost in this snoring surgical-obsession are some very basic and established risks. For those who are not immediately familiar with such risks, they include:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ post-operative medical conditions, including aesthetic and cosmetic concerns
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ infection from hospitals (including the emerging antibiotic-resistant Ã¢â‚¬Å“superbugsÃ¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ scarring of tissues that can lead to painful inflammation
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ expensive follow-up to surgery
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ time consuming follow-up which may cause extended periods of leave from work (potentially adding to the overall cost of the salary in lost wages/salary)
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ expensive medications to control swelling
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ possible damage to speech, including changing voice
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ possible problems with swallowing
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ possible hemorrhaging
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ possible uncomfortable and distracting dry mouth
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ possible intense ear pain
Whereas some surgeries are a bit more tried and tested than others, surgery designed to stop, mitigate, or treat snoring have been less than successful for many people.
Why is this the case? Surgery to treat snoring is designed, ultimately, to increase the airflow in the trachea; and the most common surgical way to do this is to cut away some of the tissue that is clogging up that passageway. Is this a wise choice?
Possibly, yes, for some snorers this can be a remedy; but not for all, and certainly not for most. This is because the problem of snoring is often much deeper than a constricted trachea.
Yet for many people, this is not the ultimate cause of snoring; that cause, like many medical ailments, is often something of a mystery, and can change significantly from person to person.