Sutter bipolar radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction of palate for snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnoea: is one treatment adequate?

J Laryngol Otol. 2009 Jul;123(7):750-4. doi: 10.1017/S0022215109004253. Epub 2009 Jan 12.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of bipolar radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction, using Sutter technology, in the treatment of snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnoea.

Design: Prospective, non-randomised trial.

Methods: Fifty-two patients with simple snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnoea underwent bipolar radiofrequency palate reduction under local anaesthesia.

Results: All patients were Friedman stage II and III, with tonsil sizes graded as zero, one or two, a mean body mass index of 22.6, and a mean age of 36.2 years. Seventy-seven per cent of patients reported improvement in their snoring; patients' mean snoring level (assessed by visual analogue scale) improved from 8.9 to 3.4 (p < 0.05). Eighty-three per cent of patients reported an improvement in their Epworth sleepiness scale score, from a mean of 14.6 to 9.5. Seven out of the 17 patients (41.2 per cent) met the surgical success criteria (i.e. at least a 50 per cent reduction of the pre-procedure apnoea-hypopnoea index, and a post-procedure apnoea-hypopnoea index of below 15). Patients' mean apnoea-hypopnoea index improved from 13.6 to 9.8, and their mean lowest oxygen saturation improved from 88.3 to 92.5 per cent. Eighty-two per cent of patients reported an improvement in their quality of life as a result of the procedure.

Conclusion: One session of Sutter bipolar radiofrequency tissue volume reduction represents a viable method of treating snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnoea, with good results.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheter Ablation / adverse effects
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palate, Soft / surgery*
  • Polysomnography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Snoring / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult