In some patients, an enlarged tongue base which relaxes during sleep may fall back in the oral airway (“hypopharynx”) and contribute to obstruction, turbulence and, ultimately, snoring and sleep apnea. Surgeries to treat tongue base enlargement area include a Midline glossectomy and, more recently, RadioFrequency ablation (RFA) of the tongue base. Midline glossectomy is less commonly performed given the significant post-operative complications of bleeding, difficulty swallowing, and dangerous airway swelling. RFA of the tongue base can be a reasonably effective option in appropriate snoring and sleep apnea patients. It is best to have your physician evaluate your anatomy to decide if this could be an effective treatment for you.
Radiofrequency Ablation of the Base of Tongue