An effective procedure to treat snoring is available in Southland  

There are no devices, tapes, sprays or pillows.  Just a simple procedure that uses radiofrequency to shorten and stiffen the soft palate. 

The treatment only takes around 20 minutes and is done under local anaesthetic so people can go straight back to work (or play).   

The procedure is performed by a trained, registered doctor and causes minimal discomfort 

To book or enquire, contact:

Te Anau: Fiordland Medical Practice - phone (03) 249 7007 - appointments available most days

If you are confident you would like the procedure done, you can book to have the assessment and procedure performed on the same visit

Click here for Snore-Op providers outside Otago and Southland


Frequently asked questions are listed below, as well as a snoring and sleepiness scale to help you measure the current effects of your snoring.


Common Questions About the Snore-Op

1. What is done?
You sit in a chair or on the edge of a bed with your mouth open.   The doctor uses local anaesthetic to numb the soft palate.   A probe is then inserted into the soft palate and held there for around 30 seconds while radiofrequency is applied.   The probe is then inserted into a second site on the soft palate and removed after 30 seconds.   With longer palates, a third insertion may also be required.   

2. Does it work?

80% of people will reduce their snoring following one treatment.   People with very loud snoring or a long, loose soft palate are more likely to need a second treatment.   With a second treatment, 90% of people will respond overall.   Some people will even require a third or fourth treatment to stop them snoring disruptively.

3. How does it work?
The probe emits a radiofrequency wave which is absorbed by surrounding tissue over a very short radius (3mm).   This wave heats the tissue, causing a controlled burn (no charring or smoke!)   As the burn heals, the tissue shortens and stiffens, becoming less floppy and thereby less able to generate noise.   Before shortening and stiffening, swelling causes the palate to become more loose and floppy so snoring often worsens before improving.   Improvement usually begins around 10-14 days after the procedure.   The full effect is evident after six to eight weeks.

4. Does it hurt?

A fine needle is used to inject the local anaesthetic so there is a pin-prick sensation as the needle is inserted.   This soon disappears as the local anaesthetic numbs the area.   There is sometimes a warm or hot sensation while the probe is held in the soft palate.   After the procedure there is a mild sensation of a sore throat and swelling which usually passes within 3-4 days.   The average pain score is two out of ten and any pain is typically dealt to with mouthwash and/or paracetamol.   Most people do not require any pain relief.  

4. Is it safe?

The radiofrequency wave is non-ionising (between AM and FM) and is absorbed over a very controlled area so no distant tissues are affected.  Allergic reaction to local anaesthetic is extremely rare but tell the doctor if you have had any previous problems.   The commonest complication is a small mouth ulcer which can be treated with mouth washes and heals within a few days like typical mouth ulcers.

5. Do I need time off work?

No, only the time required for the procedure (approximately 20 minutes discussion and 20 minutes to do the procedure)  

6. Do I need to fast before the procedure?

No, you can eat before and after the procedure.   Cold fluids are recommended after.

7. Who is doing these procedures?

Stephen Hoskin is a doctor who studied at the University of Otago.   He works as a general practitioner and has trained in minor surgical procedures including skin excisions and Snore-Ops.   He works most days in Te Anau but does some Snore-Op clinics in Dunedin at the Mornington Health Centre.   

8. What if I've have previous surgery?

People who have had previous surgery for snoring can still have the snore-op performed successfully.  The Snore-op is markedly less painful than traditional surgery such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP).

9. What if I have sleep apnoea?

People with sleep apnoea can benefit from the Snore-Op, major surgery or CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).  The appropriate treatment depends on several factors which can be discussed after an assessment.  An overnight sleep study is sometimes required.


Other questions, a more full explanation and video are available at or by emailing 

Assessing the effects of snoring

Use the charts below to score your snoring and daytime sleepiness.  Both usually improve following a Snore-Op. 


Measuring the loudness : (Disturbance factor)

 Use this scale to determine your current level of snoring


0     No snoring at all

1     Non-disruptive slight snoring sometimes

2     Non-disruptive slight snoring about half the time

3     Non-disruptive snoring most nights

…………………………………………… (the goal is to be three or less)

4     Disrupts partner sometimes

5     Disrupts partner about half the nights

6     Disrupts partner every night

7     Disrupts others through shut doors some nights

8     Disrupts others about half the nights of the week

9    Disrupts others every night in other rooms

10   Partner sleeps in another room often












(Your opinion of yourself , and your partner's opinion required)


  For people with an iPhone, consider using an app to help gauge your snoring (there are several available.)



Measuring your tiredness: (Epworth Sleepiness Scale)

  Use this scale to determine your current level of sleepiness.  It is helpful if you complete this before your consultation.


How likely are you to doze off in the following situations?

Choose the most appropriate score for each situation and add the total.

0 = would never doze, 1 = slight chance, 2 = moderate chance,

3 = high chance of dozing.



         Chance of dozing

(0 to 3)

  Sitting and reading



  Watching TV



  Sitting inactive in a public place (eg theatre or meeting)



  Passenger in a car for an hour without a break



  Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit



  Sitting and talking to someone



  Sitting quietly after lunch without alcohol



  In a car, stopped for a few minutes in traffic










People often report feeling more awake after the Snore-Op, either because they are being harassed less or because they are less disruptive to themselves.