Minimally invasive erbium laser treatment for selected snorers
Frelich H, Scierski W, Markow M, Frelich J, Frelich H, Maciej M.
Lasers Med Sci. 2019;34(7):1413-1420. doi:10.1007/s10103-019-02731-6
The aim of this paper is to present our results and experience in the treatment of snoring using the non-ablative Erbium: Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (Er:YAG) laser. Twenty-four patients (18 male and 6 female) with snoring problems due to soft palate hypertrophy were treated with 3 treatment procedures with Er:YAG 2940-nm laser (long pulse mode, 10 Hz, fluence 1.8-2.0 J/cm2) performed at 2-week intervals. The treatment procedures were performed in outpatient settings. One treatment session lasts 15-20 min. Subjective (questionnaires) and objective (polygraph) outcome measures were assessed at baseline and 3 months after the final laser treatment. Wilcoxon Signed Rank was used to compare before and after scores. All polygraph variables showed some improvement 3 months after the end of treatment; however, only the reduction of the number of hypopnea episodes per hour was statistically significant (p = 0.034). In 13/24 patients, snoring time accounted for less than 5% of the sleep time after the treatment compared to 6/24 patients at baseline. The questionnaire survey showed statistically significant improvement in the quality of sleep and life of the patients as well as their partners after Er:YAG treatment (p < 0.001). The assessment of daytime sleepiness using the Epworth scale also improved 3 months after the end of treatment (p = 0.010). Based on our observations, the treatment of snoring with the Er:YAG laser is an effective and non-invasive therapeutic method. Further studies with long-term follow-up and a control group are warranted to confirm the promising results obtained in case series.