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Question 11 - How do the results of somnoplasty, base of tongue, reduce with time?

From: M. N.

You have stated in Question 5 "Generally, tongue base somnoplasty can achieve improvement of OSA, but it is uncommon to have a dramatic reduction.

Additionally, the results of somnoplasty can reduce with time. "How do the results of somnoplasty base of tongue reduce with time?

The procedure is suppose to reduce and tighten tissue.

If the tissue in the tongue is reduced - how can the results reduce with time? Does the tongue develop scar tissue in place of the coagulated areas? Does the tongue grow new tissue over time? Is there another reason? Can you explain how the results of somnoplasty base of tongue can reduce with time? Thank you

Answer Provided by Dr. Kasey Li
July 19, 2007

Sleep apnea gradually worsens with aging, regardless how it is treated, CPAP, surgery or oral appliance. The tongue is just one piece of the puzzle in the airway. The lateral pharyngeal walls collapse inward and contributing to airway narrowing.

The RF reduction leads to scar. Scar softens over time.

I did two studies on long-term follow up of patients after tongue treatment and after soft palate treatment. Both show gradual worsening. In general, the greater improvement of the sleep apnea, the less the deterioration.

Good luck

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