Senior Doctor at Skin Alert Cairns David Candler performs the treatments, which can reduce or eliminate snoring. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Senior Doctor at Skin Alert Cairns David Candler performs the treatments, which can reduce or eliminate snoring. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Laser treatments may help snorers

SNORING can range from cute to cruelty for both the person snoring and their partner.

But no matter what the snoring sounds like, it always means something isn't quite right.

Skin Alert Cairns senior doctor David Candler said the day-to-day issue could be almost cured with a laser treatment.

"Snoring is a worldwide problem," he said.

"Sleep apnoea is a real problem. If people snore they can get quite low on oxygen throughout the night, but a lot of people aren't aware of that, they just feel really tired and it can be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke."

He said in the past doctors had tried all kinds of odd treatments to reduce the problem.

"Historically, for treating snoring, people have tried burning away the edges of the soft palate, or they've tried chopping off the uvula because it looks like it moves in the breeze, some people have tried cutting the whole edge of the soft palate away, but that doesn't stop snoring," he said.

He said turning to laser treatments was a relatively pain-free option for people wanting a better night's sleep.

"I have this laser for doing skin treatments, but one of the benefits of it is that you can control the beam to a low setting. It heats the skin and makes the skin contract," he said.

"What you do is heat up the soft palate tissue at the back of the throat and that causes a contraction.

"For most people that helps their snoring."

He said it wasn't a sure-fire treatment, but most people noticed a difference.

"It's not a guarantee, but the statistics show that 80-85 per cent of people have their snoring substantially subside," he said.

"It makes a big difference for the patient and for their partner.

"A lot of patients say that they're not sure of how much they're snoring after the treatment because they're actually sleeping through the night."

Dr Candler said the average person went through about three half-hour treatments, where a laser "painted" their soft palate.

He said the side-effects included having a sore throat for about three days after the treatment, but it was only a little bit of pain to be able to sleep comfortably.



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