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.