Radiofrequency surgery of the soft palate in the treatment of snoring. A placebo-controlled trial

Sleep. 2005 Jul;28(7):847-50. doi: 10.1093/sleep/28.7.847.


Study objectives: Recent publications have demonstrated a reduction in snoring with radiofrequency (RF) surgery of the soft palate. Yet so far, all published data has been based on non-controlled trials.

Design: Aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of RF surgery of the soft palate in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: Outpatients department at university hospital, department of otorhinolaryngology.

Patients: 26 patients with primary snoring (AHI < 15, BMI < 35).

Interventions: Patients were treated with temperature-controlled RF surgery of the soft palate under local anesthesia. In accord with a randomization protocol they received 2 sessions of RF surgery (total amount of energy: 3.300 Joule) or placebo (insertion of device needle without energy delivery).

Measurements and results: Snoring was evaluated by the bed partner with 10 cm visual analogue scales. 23 patients completed the study; 12 received RF-surgery and 11 received placebo. Snoring scores did not change in the placebo group (8.4 +/- 1.6 to 8.0 +/- 2.3) while improving in the RF-group (8.1 +/- 1.3 to 5.2 +/- 2.4). The difference between the groups was statistically significant (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: RF-surgery was significantly better than placebo, although the reduction in snoring was only moderate in our group of patients. This study underlines the necessity for well-controlled clinical trials in the treatment of snoring.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheter Ablation / instrumentation*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / diagnosis
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palate, Soft / physiopathology*
  • Palate, Soft / surgery*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Snoring / epidemiology
  • Snoring / physiopathology*
  • Snoring / surgery*