Sleep apnea is more than just a snoring problem. This abnormal interruption of breathing may result in higher risk for stroke, high blood pressure, or heart failure. One treatment at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center uses radio waves to destroy (or ablate) tissue at the base of the tongue. This shrinks the area and increases breathing flow during sleep.
Multiple treatments may be required, and the ablation technique can also be applied in the nasal passages (called turbinates) to boost nasal breathing. These surgeries may be combined with tonsillectomy or palate surgeries, or done separately. The tongue ablation procedure is nearly painless. Patients recover from radio frequency ablation swiftly but results may take up to two months as the tissues shrink.