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Radiofrequency-assisted uvulopalatoplasty for snoring: Long-term follow-up


  • Boris A. Stuck MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany
    • Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Mannheim, 68135 Mannheim, Germany
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  • This work was not supported by grants. The author wishes to disclose that he receives study and travel grants as well as consultancy fees from Celon AG Medical Instruments, Berlin, Germany, and from other companies that provide and distribute devices for radiofrequency surgery (e.g., Sutter Medizintechnik, Freiburg, Germany).



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.


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.


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.


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

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