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Surgical Solutions for Adults

By using radiofrequency in sleep apnea surgery, the volume of soft tissue of the nasal turbinates, soft palate or tongue can be reduced. A significant advantage of radiofrequency treatment is its precision in targeting tissue. The treated tissue remains within 60-90 degrees Celsius, so heat dissipation to the surrounding tissues is limited, thus minimizing excessive tissue injury and complications.

These procedures are usually performed in the office surgery center.

Local anesthetic is first injected into the tissue. The treatment probe is then inserted into the target tissue to transmit the radiofrequency energy. Minimal discomfort is generally experienced during this procedure.

During the healing process of one to three weeks, scar tissue forms, causing the tissue to shrink to increase the airway space.

Radiofrequency Treatment of Nasal Turbinates

A frequent cause of nasal airway obstruction is excessive tissue in the inferior turbinate. The size of the turbinate can be reduced by radiofrequency to improve nasal breathing and CPAP use.

The procedure is performed in the office surgery center under local anesthesia.

The procedure takes 15 minutes with minimal discomfort.

There is no restriction in activity after treatment, but expect to experience nasal stuffiness for three to five days after treatment.

Radiofrequency Treatment of the Tongue

Due to its dominant position in the airway, the tongue is a frequent cause of airway obstruction in obstructive sleep apnea. The airway can be improved by reducing the tongue volume with radiofrequency.

The procedure is performed in the office surgery center under local or general anesthesia.

The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes with minimal discomfort.

Potential complications include significant swelling and infection. The risk of complications is directly associated with the amount of radiofrequency energy that is applied. Multiple treatment sessions are required to limit the amount of energy delivered during each treatment.

Radiofrequency Treatment of the Soft Palate

Excessive soft palate tissue is a frequent cause of airway obstruction in obstructive sleep apnea. Radiofrequency energy is applied to the soft palate to stiffen the tissue, but is only helpful in patients diagnosed with mild obstructive sleep apnea.

The procedure is performed in the office surgery center under local anesthesia.

The procedure takes 10 minutes with minimal discomfort.

There is no restriction in activity after treatment. Expect sleep and swallowing to be somewhat affected for approximately two days due to temporary swelling of the soft palate.
Before Surgery
Before Surgery
After Surgery
After Surgery

References:

Li KK, Powell NB, Riley RW, Troell RJ, Guilleminault C.  Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction for Treatment of Turbinate Hypertrophy - A Pilot Study.  Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery; 119(6) 569-573, 1998.

Li KK, Powell NB, Riley RW, Troell RJ, Guilleminault C.  Radiofrequency Volumetric Reduction of the Palate: An Extended Follow-Up Study.  Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery; 122(3):410-414, 2000.

Powell NB, Riley RW, Troell RJ, Li KK, Blumen MN, Guilleminault C.  Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction of the Palate in Subjects with Sleep-Disordered Breathing.  Chest; 113(5):1163-1174, 1998.

Troell RJ, Powell NB, Riley RW, Li KK, Guilleminault C.  Comparison of Postoperative Pain Between Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty, Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction of the Palate.  Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery;122(3):402-409, 2000.

Guilleminault C, Kim Y, Palombini L, Li K, Powell N.  Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome and its Treatment.  Sleep; 23:S197-S200, 2000.

Powell NB, Zonato A, Weaver EM, Li K, Troell R, Riley RW, Guilleminault C.  Radiofrequency Treatment of Turbinate Hypertrophy in Subjects Using CPAP.  A Randomized Double Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Pilot Trial.  Laryngoscope; 111:1783-1790, 2001.

Li KK, Powell NB, Riley RW, Guilleminault C.  Temperature-Controlled Radiofrequency Tongue Base Reduction for Sleep-Disordered Breathing: Long-term Follow-up. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; 127:230-234, 2002. 



 

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