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Palate - Radiofrequency Treatment for Snoring

Radiofrequency tissue reduction is a procedure for shrinking redundant tissue. It is used to reduce the volume of an enlarged soft palate and uvula as a treatment for habitual snoring. Unlike surgery or laser techniques, radiofrequency technique uses very low energy to create finely controlled coagulative zones underneath the mucosal layer. These zones are naturally resorbed by the body, altering the tissue structure by reducing excess tissue. Radiofrequency treatment is designed to minimize the bleeding and pain associated with other techniques. It is performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient surgical suite, typically in less than 10 minutes.
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Radiofrequency Procedure

During the procedure, local anesthesia is administered after which a tiny electrode is positioned under the mucosa of the soft palate. An insulation area protects the mucosa from any thermal effect. The uninsulated portion of the electrode transmits very low levels of radiofrequency energy. The energy causes molecular friction, which in turn heats up the tissue without burning it. This friction injures a small area of tissue, which is naturally resorbed over a period of a few weeks.

Diagrams of the Temperature Controlled Radiofrequency Procedure to Treat Snoring

Submucosal Delivery of TCRF Energy
submucosal delivery of tcrf energy


The patient is fully awake throughout the treatment. The physician first applies a local anesthetic to the uvula and palate, similar to that used in a dental procedure. A few minutes later the RF device, which is connected to a radiofrequency generator, is placed into the mouth. A small electrode located at the end of the device is inserted into the soft palate. Radiofrequency is applied through the electrode. Part of the electrode is insulated to protect the delicate surface of the tissue. Through controlled delivery of radiofrequency energy, the tissue is heated in a limited area around the electrode. The patient does not feel discomfort during the procedure.

 

Creation of Coagulative Lesion
creation of coagulative lesion

 

 


The procedure creates a submucosal lesion in the soft palate. Patients typically experience some swelling and have a mild sore throat. Following the procedure, most patients take an over-the-counter analgesic for one to three days.

 

 

 

Tissue Volume Reduction
tissue volume reduction

 

 

Over a period of three to six weeks the lesion is naturally resorbed by the body, leading to tissue volume reduction. In addition, the collagen in the treated area tends to contract, lifting the uvula, stiffening the tissue and reducing its propensity to vibrate. With the reduction and tightening of the obstructive tissue, snoring is reduced in many patients.