There are a solid handful of treatment options for snoring, all of which have varying degrees of success. At ENRICH Clinic, we believe that the Romeo laser is one of the most effective snoring treatments available.
The Romeo laser is a type of laser known as an Erbium:YAG laser, a device that offers fractional laser therapy. Fractional lasers cause deliberate, precise microscopic damage to the mucosal membrane: the soft palate (the roof of your mouth) and the uvula (the little dangly thing at the back of your throat).
This microscopic damage triggers the tightening of treated tissue, resulting in a marked reduction in the vibrations caused by breathing – snoring. The Romeo laser treatments stabilise the soft palate and thus reduce snoring, sometimes dramatically.
The Romeo handpiece – unique amongst handpieces
Lasers have one or more handpieces that make them suitable to use for different applications, which often means different areas of the body. The Romeo handpiece, custom-designed for the anti-snoring task, has an optic adapter with a single-use sterile cover to maximise hygiene, and the treatments are comfortable, gentle and effective.
This laser handpiece is the only one like it in the world.
What does ‘fractional’ mean?
A fractional laser beam isn’t as complicated as it sounds, so bear with. ‘Fractional’ in this context means ‘some but not all’ – a fraction.
A fractional laser beam is split up into partial rays, so think of a showerhead setup. You still get the full force of water pressure, but it’s split into partial sections instead of coming out as a tap does in one stream.
This split-into-bits system makes better use of the rays since the areas of tissue in between the rays are left untreated and thus support the healing of the treated columns.
The Romeo has 169 partial rays in every 5 x 5 mm grid. When we treat just 169 single columns of tissue within this grid, healing is faster, since we microscopically damage just a fraction of the tissue within the grid.
How does the Romeo tighten the soft palate and reduce snoring?
Collagen and elastin are the protein fibres that hold our bodies together, keeping our tissue strong and flexible. When the laser rays penetrate and cause microdamage to select areas of the soft palate, collagen and elastin production is triggered.
In addition to this, the collagen and elastin fibres that already exist contract with the heat energy of the laser, making them instantly tighter.
Does it hurt?
No, the treatment doesn’t hurt and does not require an anaesthetic.
Can I go back to work, school, or whatever afterwards?
Yes, the Romeo snoring treatment has zero downtime. You can get back to your regular activities immediately afterwards. You can expect no side-effects, but there have been reports of a temporary sore throat.
How long does the treatment take?
The Romeo laser treatment where we treat the soft palate is very quick, the whole treatment taking just 20- 30 minutes, patient depending.
How many treatments do I need for optimal results?
You’ll need at least two Romeo treatments performed a month apart. Another treatment may be necessary, but that’s a conversation between you and your doctor and depends on your response to the previous two treatments. If two treatments have gotten you great results and you’re happy, there may be no need for another treatment at that point.
Touch-up treatments are scheduled once per year, so you will need to come back at specific intervals. The natural ageing process means the treatments don’t last forever.
Is the Romeo snoring treatment only for men?
No, women who snore also benefit just as much from the Romeo laser treatments. There is a common misconception that women don’t snore or don’t snore as much as men. Women tend to snore more softly than men due to general size differences and the shape of our necks and heads.
Women’s snoring is a much bigger problem than is recognised, even by the snorers themselves or their bed partners. Snoring of any kind disrupts the breathing, and thus the sleep, of the snorer. Soft snoring is still snoring, and snoring is a sign of unhealthy sleep.
Women who snore are encouraged to see their GP for a referral to a sleep specialist who can determine the cause of the snoring and identify any underlying medical conditions that may be interfering with healthy sleep.
So everyone can have the treatment?
Most people able to have the treatment, but there are some cases where the treatment may not be viable for various reasons. It is important that you have a consult first to determine your suitability.
Scientific research into the Romeo for snoring
The pilot study, conducted in 2016, took nine men and one woman with severe snoring and treated them with the Romeo handpiece. There were no adverse events recorded, and the reduction in snoring in all patients was significant.
Within 4-6 months, there was a reduction in the severity of snoring of between 40 and 60 per cent. Over half the study participants and their bed partners reported ‘excellent improvement’ in problem snoring.
Another study on 40 snorers found that 85 per cent of participants were ‘very satisfied’ with the treatment. Out of 40 participants, just one person wasn’t satisfied with the treatment.
Participants also reported much more frequent dreaming during the night, indicating a deeper sleep state. Results were stable at 20 months follow-up.
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