Coblation Palatoplasty for Snoring and MILD Obstructive Sleep Apnea
by Dr. Christopher Chang, last modified on
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Coblation is a relatively recent technology that has enabled many surgical procedures that previously required IV sedation and even general anesthesia to now be performed under only local anesthesia without any sedation in an office-setting (insead of an operating room).
One such procedure called coblation palatoplasty is used to treat snoring which affects millions of people in the United States. In certain cases, it may be even used to treat mild obstructive sleep apnea.
For a complete list of procedures to treat snoring, click here.
Coblation palatoplasty works by inserting a needle like device into the soft palate and in essence, performing "liposuction" resulting in overall reduction in the size and thickness of the soft palate and even the uvula. Over a 6 week period of time, scarring occurs which stiffens the palate making it less prone to vibration thereby reducing a person's snore. The steps of the procedure are as follows:
- After seating the patient, the back of the mouth is numbed up with a local anesthetic.
- After about 20 seconds, injection of the soft palate is performed in 3 spots using 2% lidocaine with some epinephrine (which helps minimize bleeding)
- After 10 minutes to allow adequate anesthetic effect, a coblation wand is inserted into each of the 3 spots on the soft palate for about 10 seconds.
- About a minute is allowed to make sure no bleeding is present and the patient is allowed to go home.
- A short course of antibiotics is provided along with pain killers once the anesthesia wears off. Patient is instructed to gargle with saline after every meal for about 1 week to help keep the wound area clean.
That's it! For some individuals, this procedure may need to be repeated up to 3 times in order to obtain maximum benefit.
An alternative, but similar procedure is the pillar procedure.
Ideal candidates for this procedure are those patients with a long and thick soft palate.
For most people, a "palatal" snore that is amenable to this treatment sounds like this:
Sample Uvula/Palate Snore #1
Sample Uvula/Palate Snore #2
A tongue base snore that sounds like this does not respond well to this type of treatment:
Sample Tongue Base Snore
If you are able to imitate the snore while sticking out the tongue, the snore is most likely from the uvula/palate.
If snoring and/or obstructive sleep apnea is affecting your quality of life, please contact our office for an appointment.
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