I live in Italy and I want to tell my experience in case it helps anyone. I’ve probably suffered from sleep apnea since a teen and I’m now 41. I already knew I snored heavily but I never took it seriously until I got married and my wife noticed that sometimes I stopped breathing. I do know though that I didn’t sleep very well and had trouble to keep focus during day.
So after some research (and delay due to pandemic) I had an home sleep test (AHI 7.3 but possibly underestimated) that confirmed the diagnosis and I went to an ENT specialized in sleep disorders. The ENT said that I had large tonsils, large tongue & hypertrophic turbinates and he suggested a procedure in 2 steps.
For the first part I got laser reduction of turbinates, this is usually done with local anesthesia but in my case it was done under general anesthesia because the ENT also made a sleep endoscopy. The sleep endoscopy allows to see exactly which anatomical parts are involved in snoring and tailor surgery to the patient’s case, this cannot be done but under sleep conditions.
Once the nose was well healed I noticed a small improvement in snoring and I was definitely breathing better than ever during day.
At next visit the ENT showed me the endoscopy video explaining what he was set to do next. The method they use here is called “barbed snore surgery” that is a little invasive procedure, in my case I also had to do a tonsillectomy. The ENT told me that, in order to completely eliminate my sleep apnea, beside surgery I also had to use a tongue retaining device to keep it from obstructing the throat.
You can read a lot online about tonsillectomy in adults and my experience was similar, it took 15 day to return to normal but the worst were the first 5-6 days. Overall it was not as painful as I read, just like a strong pharyngitis but I needed rest and cold/soft food.
After 40 days my throat is completely healed and I can do an assessment of the results so far. A soft snoring is still present but very much less than before, I don’t have many brief recurring awakenings like I used to and dreams have become longer and more coherent. Sometimes I still have episodes of heavy snoring that happen at random, depending on position. It’s probably due to the tongue collapsing back but in such case I just change position and it always stops.
I will consider using a tongue retaining device in future, before doing so I’ll wait more time to see how it evolves and if it get any worse. I will also give a try to various mouth exercises that seem to help strenghtening tongue muscles and decreasing its collapse. For example this app from a taiwanese hospital has many exercises explained in detail.
I will have another sleep study later and report back in 3-4 months if mouth exercises help