The section of Surgical Sleep & Snoring offers alternatives to CPAP for the treatment of OSA and snoring, including the Inspire® hypoglossal nerve stimulator implant.

Our multidisciplinary team includes otolaryngologists board-certified in sleep medicine , oral surgeons and dentists with expertise in placing dental devices.

For more information, please call 216.444.1948 or 800.223.2273 extension 41948.

Our Team

Todd Coy, DMD
Todd Coy, DMD
Section Head, Dentistry and Maxillofacial Prosthetics
Alan Kominsky, MD
Alan Kominsky, MD
Section Head, Surgical Sleep and Snoring


Hope for Snoring

Snoring is a problem shared by more than 25 percent of the population. It occurs more frequently in men and people who are overweight. Habitual snoring disrupts a family’s peaceful night’s sleep. Snoring also disturbs the snorer’s own sleep patterns, resulting in a feeling of being tired, even after what seems like a good night’s sleep. Habitual snoring makes a restful sleep nearly impossible for everyone. A snorer, however, is helpless to control or stop the snoring. At Cleveland Clinic, an ENT doctor can offer some snoring treatments.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Some snorers may experience the most serious form of snoring, called obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by loud snoring, which is interrupted by frequent periods when breathing is restricted (hypopnea) or actually stops (apnea). This disorder is sometimes fatal if apnea extends over longer periods of time and becomes more frequent. Many snorers are unaware of the implications of the problem of obstructive sleep apnea. A laboratory sleep study can be performed by an ENT doctor to determine the extent and severity of obstructive sleep apnea.

Causes of Snoring

Snoring occurs when the airway becomes physically obstructed. This may be caused by poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue, which allows them to collapse and fall back into the airway. Snoring also occurs with enlarged tonsils and adenoids or with a long palate and/or uvula. These obstructing tissues vibrate loudly when the person breathes, resulting in a snoring sound. Snoring treatments used by Cleveland Clinic's Head and Neck Institute allow patients to sleep without disturbance.

Snoring Treatments

Snoring Treatments

Non-Surgical Snoring Treatments

More than 300 snoring treatment devices have been developed to prevent snoring, including special pillows, dental bites and chin straps. People have even sewn tennis balls into the backs of pajamas to keep from snoring. These snoring treatments are based on behavior modification and do not physically correct the underlying anatomical problem.

Laser Snoring Treatments

A Cleveland Clinic ENT specialist often offers laser surgery with a local anesthetic to correct the anatomic cause of snoring by trimming the uvula and soft palate. Laser snoring treatments are usually done in the doctor’s office with the patient fully awake and sitting in a chair. A complete snoring treatment consists of one to three sessions, each four weeks apart. Each session takes only 15 to 30 minutes.

Afterward, the patient is able to eat, speak and return to daily activities. A severe sore throat is experienced by some patients following snoring treatments. Medication is available as necessary. A reduction in snoring after the first session is common. After the snoring treatments are completed, 85 percent of patients report that their snoring has been helped.

Radiofrequency Treatment

The latest and least invasive surgical measure for snoring treatments is radiofrequency coagulation. After local anesthesia is administered, radiofrequency energy is delivered directly by an ENT specialist via an insulated needle to the tissue producing snoring. The needle remains in the tissue for approximately three minutes, during which time hardening occurs. One to three applications at six week intervals may be necessary to achieve the desired results.

A non-surgical procedure and limited amount of postoperative discomfort are significant advantages of radiofrequency snoring treatments.

Insurance Coverage for Snoring Treatments

Currently, most insurance companies do not pay for the snoring treatments as a distinct, isolated problem. Some patients undergo sleep studies, which confirm the severity of their sleep disorder, thereby rendering treatment insurable. In most cases, snoring is caused by several anatomic factors that jointly block the airway during sleep. Correction of these factors, such as nasal obstruction, enlarged tonsils and abnormalities of the palate, is covered by insurance.

Am I a Candidate for Radiofrequency Surgery?

An initial consultation with an ENT specialist will help to determine if radiofrequency snoring treatments are appropriate such as somnoplasty is appropriate for you. A somnoplasty uses radiofrequency energy to create lesions beneath the uvula and soft palate. The somnoplasty causes stiffness of the palate that can eventually stop snoring.

This information is for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. It has not been designed to replace a physician’s independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a snoring treatment procedure for a given patient.