Base of Tongue Reduction
The most under-diagnosed component of airway obstruction during sleep apnea rests at the level of the base of tongue. This structure is important in swallowing as it contributes to moving food downwards into the GI tract. However, while asleep, this structure can relax and fall backwards – causing total airway obstruction.
Patients suffering from this will experience a sudden awakening at night, gasping for air. For those witnessing a loved one experiencing retro-lingual obstruction – it appears as if they are choking. For those patients that are overweight or obese, retro-lingual obstruction plays a larger role in contributing to sleep apnea.
Base of tongue reduction utilizes radiofrequency technology to improve the patency of the retro-lingual airway and reduce airway obstructions while sleeping.
This is performed under local anesthesia. A probe is inserted into multiple points at the base of tongue and radiofrequency energy is delivered. This causes the tissue to scar, decreasing the tendency for this tissue to contribute to obstruction during sleep.