Radiofrequency treatment helps cure sleep apnea
By Libby Hendren | WSTP 10 News
Tampa, Florida — Radio frequencies can transmit the signals you hear on the radio, shrink tumors… and for some, cure their sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea makes it difficult to breathe, which means you and even your partner won’t get very restful z’s. One of the most common types is obstructive sleep apnea when the airway collapses or becomes blocked– mostly due to your tongue.
But a clinical procedure available at Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America that takes a few minutes under general anesthetic uses radio frequencies to shrink the tongue.
Radiofrequency ablation of the tongue can help improve and even cure your sleep apnea in about six treatments spaced a month apart.
It’s the only FDA-approved procedure that’s done outside a hospital and can cure the chronic condition. Right now, the treatment is covered by Medicare and United Healthcare, but doctors are confident more insurance companies will cover the costs in the future.
The first step to getting treated is getting diagnosed. As many as 85 percent of people don’t even realize they have the condition. If you snore and sound like you’re gasping for air, you may need to see a doctor and undergo a sleep study.
Click on the video for Dr. Jeffrey Silveira’s demonstration of radiofrequency ablation of the tongue.
For more info on diagnosing sleep apnea from NIH, “What Is Sleep Apnea?”click here.
After the procedure, patients may experience numbness in the tongue, soreness, and bruising which will go away; however, there’s a risk of nerve damage if the procedure isn’t done right.
Click here to read a study about possible side effects of Radiofrequency ablation from NIH called “Complications of tongue base reduction with radiofrequency tissue ablation on obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome.”
If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, you’re likely to have a slower reaction time behind the wheel. Dr. Silveira told 10 News of the 88 patients who die from carcrashes each day in the U.S., about 15% of them had an undiagnosed sleep breathing disorder.