Modified uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and radiofrequency-in-saline tongue for the management of snoring

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Australian Journal of Otolaryngology


Background: The modified uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and radiofrequency-in-saline tongue has not been investigated as an option in primary snoring. The aim of this study was to determine whether such combined palatal and tongue surgery, designed to enlarge and stabilize the upper airway, is an effective treatment for patients with primary snoring who cannot tolerate or decline device therapy. Setting: Single centre study, based in New South Wales, Australia. Methods: This was a retrospective case series, and included adult patients with primary snoring who underwent modified uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and radiofrequency-in-saline tongue between January 2009 and December 2020. Patients with clinically significant obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) [Apnoea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) >15] were excluded. Primary outcome measures were the Snoring Severity Scale (SSS) (a questionnaire, which indicates loudness and frequency of snoring) completed both prior to and following surgery, and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) as a secondary outcome. Mean questionnaire scores prior to and at 3-month follow-up were analysed. Results: Ninety-seven adult patients without clinically significant OSA underwent upper airway surgery for snoring, of whom 68 were included in the present study (37.3±11.5 years, n=17 female). The mean SSS prior to surgery was 7.0±1.6 and 1.9±2.3 at 3-month follow-up (P<0.0001). The mean ESS prior to surgery was 9.0±4.8 and 4.1±2.8 at 3-month follow-up (P<0.0001). Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that modified uvulopalatopharyngoplasty with radiofrequency-in-saline tongue is an effective treatment modality for snoring, with a low complication rate. This procedure may be offered to carefully selected patients with snoring as a primary complaint who have failed or declined device therapy.

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