If a bulky large tongue base is the significant contributing factor to the snoring and sleep apnea, the tongue base can be reduced in bulk by means of a radiofrequency probe similar to the technique used for the soft palate,RF Coblation.Tongue base procedures can involve removal of lingual tonsils, and radiofrequency reduction of the tongue base.
However, improvement with radiofrequency tongue reduction is insufficient as a single treatment modality. Therefore, it should most likely be considered as an adjunctive treatment in combination with other surgical approaches.
In the past we used to perform major surgical procedures like partial glossectomy,hyoid advancement,genioglossal and mandibular advancement.None of these procedures directly addresses the tongue bulk itself. Rather, these procedures indirectly attempts to address the base of tongue by moving and anchoring the entire tongue forward. As such, these procedures only marginally improves OSA and usually only lasts for a temporary period of time.
RF Coblation creates small areas of scarring in the base of the tongue. These are naturally resorbed over a period of three to eight weeks, leading to reduction in tissue volume in the tongue helping to open the airway during sleep.