Coblation – Palatoplasty

Coblation – Palatoplasty

General overview of Coblation Palatoplasties

Millions of Americans suffer from snoring conditions, which in turn also translates into millions of others, such as spouses, having to suffer through the consequences of the condition. This has caused many to suffer poor quality of sleep among other outcomes as a result of the condition. Snoring is caused by the irregular movement of air through the passageway at the throat due to an obstruction. This obstruction is often the soft tissue of the soft palate or the uvula which obstruct the smooth passage of air to the lungs. When someone who snores sleeps, this soft tissue causes the air passing through to do so through a narrow space, which in turn causes the obstructing tissue to vibrate. In some instances, snoring may be accompanied by sleep apnea, a condition where the airway is obstructed altogether and the person stops breathing momentarily while they sleep. In both instances, the condition can be treated through a minimally invasive procedure called coblation palatoplasty

How the service is done:

Coblation palatoplasty is an outpatient procedure performed to reduce snoring. Whereas in the past snoring was treated as an inpatient surgical case, this new form of treatment is minimally invasive and in some cases is performed with only local anesthetic. The procedure involves the reduction in size of the soft tissue causing the snoring. This is achieved by making some small incisions in the soft tissue (soft palate and/or uvula) and then inserting a radio frequency probe that creates a channel within the tissue. The probe is then activated for around ten seconds to cause shrinkage in the tissue. This is repeated in a few other area of the tissue. After the procedure and during the healing process, the tissue scars and shrinks in size causing the overall shrinkage of the soft tissue causing the snoring. When effective, this procedure can reduce significantly or eliminate snoring entirely after a few weeks.

What methods are used:

When you come in these are the steps you will take while undergoing the coblation palatoplasty procedure:

  • Before scheduling the procedure, a nurse practitioner will evaluate you and ensure you can undergo the procedure. They will ask you if you have any allergies, underlying conditions such as diabetes, etc.
  • You will be required to read and sign a medical consent form for the procedure after which you will be booked for surgery.
  • On the day of your procedure you will be given a local anesthetic (plus general anesthesia in some cases) which will numb the back of the mouth;
  • The doctor will then perform the coblation palatoplasty which will take about an hour
  • After this the doctor will monitor you briefly to ensure there is no continuous bleeding.
  • Before discharge you will be given painkillers and a number of things to observe such as gurgling saline water after meals, not eating any hot or spicy foods for a few days, and so on.

Are there any side-effects:

Coblation palatoplasty has a number potential side effects. These include:

  • Skin blanching or ulceration
  • Infection to the treated areas
  • Sore throat and general throat inflammation
  • Damage to the teeth from instruments used to keep mouth open (rare)
  • Bleeding
  • Increase in snoring immediately after the procedure, although this goes down once the inflammation reduces.

Follow-up treatments or next steps:

After the procedure you will need to be closely monitored by a responsible adult. This is because in some rare cases bleeding may continue posing a serious threat to the patient. The surgeon will instruct you to take rest for two weeks to allow complete healing although your GP may extend this if healing is not complete. A follow up visit will be slated for six months later to evaluate the success of the procedure. If you are still snoring the procedure may need to be repeated.

Contact Our Office!

Dr. Jahangir Sharifi has a team of experts who operate on patients that need effective coblation palatoplasty. Contact us at (323) 226-0022 for more information.