Radiofrequency tissue volume reduction; multilesion vs single-lesion treatments for snoring

M. Ferguson, T. L. Smith, A. M. Zanation, W. G. Yarbrough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the safety and efficacy of single-lesion and multilesion radiofrequency tissue reduction (RFTR) of the soft palate for the treatment of snoring. Design: Prospective, nonrandomized clinical trial. Setting: University hospital outpatient clinic. Patients: Nonrandomized patients undergoing RFTR to treat socially unacceptable snoring. Of 47 patients, 16 received single-lesion treatments and 31 received multilesion treatments. Intervention: Soft-palate RFTR was performed using a radiofrequency generator. Patients required 1 to 3 treatments based on improvement or withdrawal from the study, and each received 1,3, or 4 lesions per treatment. Patients who received single-lesion therapy did not cross over into the multilesion group; however, 5 patients in the multilesion group received 4-lesion therapy after a treatment with 3 lesions. Main Outcome Measures: Outcome measures were determined using visual analog scale questionnaires assessing level of snoring (snoring index) and level of pain (pain index) associated with the procedure. Adverse events and complications during treatment were cataloged. Data were collected before the procedure, 6 weeks after each treatment, and an average of 16 months after the last procedure. Results: Single-lesion and multilesion groups showed significant improvement in snoring after RFTR treatments (P <.01 for both). However, compared with the single-lesion group, the multilesion group required fewer treatments (1.94 vs 2.38; P=.05) and was more than twice as likely to be cured after 2 treatments (61% vs 25%; P=.02). A trend toward improved clinical outcomes with increased number of lesions and total energy per treatment was observed when patients treated with 1, 3, or 4 lesions were compared. The 4-lesion group had the most pronounced improvement in snoring index score per treatment, the lowest number of treatments required for cure, and the greatest percentage of patients cured after 2 treatment sessions. Follow-up demonstrated minimal relapse of snoring in the multilesion group at a mean of 16 months. Although there was a statistically significant increase in pain in the multilesion group vs the single-lesion group, this increase did not increase narcotic use or time off work and was considered minimal by reporting patients. Conclusion: Multilesion RFTR using higher energy levels per treatment is safe and has increased efficacy without increased complications relative to single-lesion therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1113-1118
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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