Oct. 5, 2009 -- A minimally invasive snoring treatment that uses heat to shrink the tissue of the soft palate may provide years of more peaceful slumber for snorers and their mates.
An early study shows that nearly three-fourths of snorers who underwent radiofrequency ablation were still satisfied with the results three years later.
Radiofrequency ablation has become a popular treatment for primary snoring not associated with obstructive sleep apnea, but researchers say that until now the long-term effectiveness of the snoring surgery has not been studied.
Snoring Treatment Lasts
In a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, researchers evaluated the safety and effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation and partial uvulectomy in 60 adults who had the snoring treatment. A partial uvulevtomy or trimming of the soft tissue that hangs down at the back of the throat is often done in combination with radiofrequency ablation of the tissue of the soft palate in treating snoring.
Compared with their pre-surgery snoring scores, the severity of snoring was significantly reduced after two sessions of radiofrequency ablation treatment and remained significantly reduced for up to three years after the snoring treatment.
Painkillers were used an average of about four to five days after the first treatment session, and 72% of those who had the treatment were satisfied three years later. The researchers noted that treatment-related throat irritation was limited but persistent for some patients.
Researchers Cheng-Lu Lin, MD, and Jiunn-Liang Wu, MD say that in contrast to obstructive sleep apnea, there is no generally accepted gold standard of treatment for primary snoring. But they say the results of this study should serve as a guide in choosing the effective treatment options for snoring.