Effect of radiofrequency vs other surgeries in the management of obstructive sleep apnoea


  • Atul M. Bage Department of ENT, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Pondicherry
  • Lakshman Bhaskar Muthuvel Department of ENT, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Pondicherry
  • Pradheep Kalatharan Department of ENT, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Pondicherry




Radiofrequency thermal ablation, OSA, RFVTR, RAUP


Background: Snoring is an important social problem seen in both men and women. Snoring occurs as a result of soft tissue vibration caused by a partial upper airway collapse during sleep. The aim of the study was to analyse the morbidity and efficacy of radiofrequency thermal ablation of upper airway in patients suffering from OSA.

Methods: In the Department of ENT, Pondicherry, 40 patients between the age group of 20 to 60 years who were diagnosed to have OSA were operated according to the site of obstruction including RFVTR. Various parameters including ESS, partner scores, post-op pain, bleeding, pharyngeal dryness voice change were measured accordingly on the 1st day, 45th day, 90th day and 180th day postoperatively for the efficacy of treatment and also for assessing the morbidity of treatment provided.  

Results: There is a statistically significant reduction in ESS scores and partner scores between pre-operative period and post operatively on the 45th day, 90th day and 180th day. Post-operative pain assessment also showed that patients who underwent RFVTR had lesser pain when compared to other surgeries like zetaplasty, LAUP, etc.

Conclusions: Radiofrequency surgery should be considered as the treatment of choice for mild OSA and hypopneic snorers. The important advantage of these procedures is technically simple and minimally invasive. RFTA of the soft palate leaves the mucosa intact contrary to LAUP, hence the pain comparably less. Relatively cost effective when compared to LASER and Coblator.

Author Biographies

Atul M. Bage, Department of ENT, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Pondicherry

Professor and Head, Dept. of ENT

Lakshman Bhaskar Muthuvel, Department of ENT, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Pondicherry

Senior Resident, Dept. of ENT

Pradheep Kalatharan, Department of ENT, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Pondicherry

Post graduate Resident


Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J, Skatrud J, Weber S, Badr S. The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults. New England Journal of Medicine. 1993;328(17):1230-5.

McNicholas WT, Bonsignore MR, Management Committee of EU Cost Action B26. Sleep apnoea as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease: current evidence, basic mechanisms and research priorities. Eur Resp J. 2007;29(1):156-78.

Marin JM, Carrizo SJ, Vicente E, Agusti AG. Long-tenn cardiovascular outcomes in men with obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea with or without treatment with continuous positive airway pressure: an observational study. The Lancet. 2005;365(9464):1046-53.

Bassiouny A, El Salamawy A, El-Tawab MA, Atef A. Bipolar radiofrequency treatment for snoring with mild to moderate sleep apnea: a comparative study between the radiofrequency assisted uvulopalatoplasty technique and the channelling technique. European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology. 2007;264(6):659-67.

Johns MW. A new method for measuring daytime sleepiness: the Epworth sleepiness scale. sleep. 1991;14(6):540-5.

Yoruk O, Akgun M, Sutbeyaz Y, Aktan B, Ucuncu H, Tatar A, Ahas E, Araz 0, Erdem AF. Treatment of primary snoring using modified radiofrequency-assisted uvulopalatoplasty. Eur Arch Oto-Rhino-Laryngol. 2009;266(11):1807-14.

Lim DJ, Kang SH, Kim BH, Kim HG. Treatment of primary snoring using radiofrequency-assisted uvulopalatoplasty. European archives of oto-rhino­ laryngology. 2007;264(7):761-7.

Stuck BA, Sauter A, Hormann K, Verse T, Maurer JT. Radiofrequency surgery of the soft palate in the treatment of snoring. A placebo-controlled trial. Sleep. 2005;28(7):847-50.

Stuck BA, Maurer JT, Hein G, Hormann K, Verse T. Radiofrequency surgery of the soft palate in the treatment of snoring: a review of the literature. Sleep. New York Then Westchester. 2004;27(3):551-6.

Krespi YP, Keidar A, Khosh MM, Pearlman SJ, Zammit G. The efficacy of laser­ assisteduvulopalatoplasty in the management of obstructive sleep apnoea and upper airway resistance syndrome. Operative Techniques in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 1994;5(4):235-43.

TroellRJ, 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. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;122(3):402-8.

Cincik H, Cekin E, Cetin B, Gungor A, Poyrazoglu E. Comparison of uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty and cautery-assisted uvulopalatoplasty in the treatment of primary snoring. ORL. 2006;68(3):149-55.

Rombaux, Philippe. Postoperative Pain and side effects after Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty Laser-assisted Uvulopalatoplasty and Radiofrequency Tissue Volumetric Reduction in Primary Snoring” The Laryngoscope. 2003;113:2169-73.

Baisch A, Maurer JT, Hormann K, Stuck BA. Combined Radiofrequency assisted uvulopalatoplasty in the treatment of snoring. Eur Arch Oto-Rhino­Laryngol. 2009;266(1):125-30.

Back LJ, Tervahartiala PO, Piilonen AK, Partinen MM, Ylikoski JS. Bipolar radiofrequency therma1 ablation of the soft palate in habitual snorers without significant desaturations assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. Am J Res critical care Med. 2002;166(6):865-71.

Powell NB, Riley RW, Troell RJ, Li K, Blumen MB, Guilleminault C. Radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction of the palate in subjects with sleep- disordered breathing. CHEST J. 1998;113(5):1163-74.

Stuck BA. Radiofrequency-assisted uvulopalato-plasty for snoring: Long-term follow-up. The Laryngoscope. 2009;119(8):1617-20.

Berger G, Finkelstein Y, Stein G, Ophir D. Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty for snoring: medium-to long-term subjective and objective analysis. Arch Otolaryngol-Head Neck Surg. 2001;127(4):412-7.

Osman EZ, Osborne JE, Hill PD, Lee BW, Hammad Z. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty versus laser assisted uvulopalatoplasty for the treatment of snoring: an objective randomized control clinical trial. Clinical Otolaryngology & Allied Sciences. 2000:25(4)3:305-10.

Paulsen FP, Steven P, Tsokos M, Jungmann K, Millier A, Verse T, et al. Upper airway epithelial structural changes in obstructive sleep-disordered breathing. Am J Resp Critical Care Med. 2002;166(4):501-9.






Original Research Articles