In any patient with severe snoring, there is a possibility of having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a potentially life threatening condition caused by a complete collapse of your airway when getting into deep sleep. This can be mild, moderate or severe. Patients with mild or sometimes moderate apnea can be excellent patients for surgical procedures to stop snoring whereas moderate to severe apnea may be treated best with a CPAP machine (a device that pushes air into you nose or mouth during sleep to prevent the airway collapse and obstruction). This is a generalization but what’s most important here is that the presence and degree of apnea play a major role in determining how we manage your snoring. In almost all patients before we make a recommendation about treating your snoring we will obtain a sleep study. There are two types of sleep studies. The first is an at home screening sleep study and the second is a study done in a sleep lab. The advantage of the home study is that obviously, it’s done in the comfort of your own bed. The second is that the type of home sleep study we use (the watch PAT) is less intrusive in that it is only attached to your hand which makes it much easier to sleep normally. The study is extremely accurate when compared with the gold standard in lab sleep study. The company we use, First Line Medical, will call you, ship the device to you and then you send the device back to them (the company pays for the shipping). We get the results of the testing a week after you send it back. While this study is very convenient it is usually not covered by your insurance and First Line Medical charges $300.
The second type of study is an in lab sleep study. We use several different labs in the area. In this type of study, you go to a lab and have wires attached to your scalp, nose, chest and finger. You have your own room, with a bed and bathroom. The sessions are recorded on video. While this certainly takes more effort, it is a much more complete study and gives us a great deal of information about your sleep. This type of study is also usually covered by your insurance.