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Keywords:

  • Radiofrequency surgery;
  • soft palate;
  • snoring;
  • radiofrequency-assisted uvulopalatoplasty;
  • long-term follow-up

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

The efficacy of combined radiofrequency (RF) surgery of the soft palate (RF-assisted uvulopalatoplasty [RF-UPP]) was demonstrated in a prospective study. Nevertheless, the data is based on short-term follow-up only, as it is the case with the majority of clinical studies regarding surgical treatment of snoring. Long-term follow-up is of particular importance in this context, as snoring relapses in a significant number of patients. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term efficacy of RF-UPP in the treatment of snoring.

Study Design:

Prospective clinical trial.

Methods:

Twenty-one patients with primary snoring (apnea/hypopnea index <15, body mass index [BMI] <32) were going through the initial trial. Patients had received two sessions of RF-UPP at the soft palate as previously described. For the present trial, all patients were contacted after approximately 18 months and asked to complete an additional follow-up questionnaire assessing current BMI, snoring (visual analogue scale), and the overall satisfaction with the procedure.

Results:

From the 21 initial patients, 19 (90%) answered the questionnaire. Mean follow-up was 19.8 ± 4.9 months. The postoperative snoring scores showed an increase from 2.0 ± 2.1 to 5.1 ± 3.3 (P < .05) at long-term follow-up. Seven (37%) patients demonstrated long-term success (1.7 ± 0.5), whereas seven patients experienced a relapse in snoring (8.1 ± 1.4). BMI remained unchanged. Age, sex, BMI, or the length of follow-up did not influence long-term outcome.

Conclusions:

After RF-UPP of the soft palate, a relapse in snoring has to be expected at long-term follow-up in a subgroup of patients. At present, there are no prospective parameters which would predict long-term benefit. Laryngoscope, 2009