Radiofrequency Palatoplasty for Snoring
Radiofrequency palatoplasty is a 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.
What To Expect
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. This surgery is usually performed in a doctor's office. Many people return to work and other regular activities in about 3 days.
Why It Is Done
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.
How Well It Works
Compared with other surgery procedures for snoring, radiofrequency palatoplasty is relatively painless and it takes only a short time to recover.footnote 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.footnote 2 Because radiofrequency palatoplasty is a new procedure, how well it works over the long term is not known.
Complications during surgery include accidental damage to surrounding blood vessels or tissues.
Complications after surgery are rare. But complications after surgery may include:
- Sleepiness and periods of not breathing (apnea) related to the medicines used to make you sleep during surgery.
- Swelling, pain, infection, and bleeding.
- A sore throat and trouble swallowing.
- Drainage of secretions into the nose and a nasal quality to the voice. Speech may be affected with this surgery.
- Narrowing of the airway in the nose and throat.
- 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: May 4, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Hasmeena Kathuria MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine