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Radiofrequency palatoplasty is a new procedure
that uses an electrical current to shrink and stiffen the back part of the roof
of the mouth (soft palate and
uvula). When the soft palate and uvula are stiffer,
they are less likely to vibrate and you are less likely to snore.
After the surgery, most people report a
little pain, such as a mild sore throat, that lasts 1 or 2 days. Taking
acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) usually eases this pain.
Radiofrequency palatoplasty is usually performed in a doctor's office, and many
people return to work and other regular activities in about 3 days.
Radiofrequency palatoplasty is
sometimes used to treat
snoring in people so that their bed partner can sleep
better. One of the most common causes of snoring is the vibration of the soft
palate and uvula. Radiofrequency palatoplasty shrinks and stiffens these areas
of the mouth, making them less likely to vibrate.
Compared with other surgery
procedures for snoring, radiofrequency palatoplasty is relatively painless and
it takes only a short time to recover.1
It takes about 4 weeks after the surgery for you to notice a decrease in
your snoring. You may need additional treatments if the first one doesn't
decrease your snoring enough.2 Because radiofrequency
palatoplasty is a new procedure, how well it works over the long term is not
Complications during surgery include accidental
damage to surrounding blood vessels or tissues.
after surgery are rare. But complications after surgery may include:
Surgery is rarely used to treat
snoring. It may not completely cure snoring, and the risks of surgery may not
be worth the small benefit you gain.
If you develop
sleep apnea after having radiofrequency palatoplasty,
diagnosis may be delayed because you do not snore. Snoring is common with sleep
apnea, but most people who snore don't have sleep apnea.
is not always considered a medical problem, so insurance may not cover
Before considering surgery, all people who snore should
try nonsurgical treatment.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Kashima ML (2007). Selected disorders of the nose and
throat: Epistaxis, snoring, anosmia, hoarseness, and hiccups. In NH Fiebach et
al., eds., Principles of Ambulatory Medicine, 7th ed.,
pp. 1849–1864. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Chambers CL (2002). Surgical management of snoring. In
TL Lee-Chiong Jr et al., eds., Sleep Medicine, pp.
429–433. Philadelphia: Hanley and Belfus.
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
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