“Caring FOR YOU LIKE Family”

Sleep Apnea & RFA- Tongue Base

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Treatment Birmingham

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. With OSA, there is a soft tissue obstruction of the upper airway, which negatively impacts to flow of air.

You Are Not Alone

  • Over 18 million people in this country alone suffer from obstructive sleep apnea
  • OSA is currently undiagnosed in 92% of all affected women and 80% of affected men
  • OSA increases as one ages occurring 2-3 times more often after the age of 65
  • Common symptoms include snoring, daytime sleepiness, and difficulty with focus and concentration
  • When left untreated, OSA can lead to other problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke
How severe is your sleep apnea? Take our quiz to find out >

Treatment Options

While CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) continues to be the mainstay of treatment, sometimes simple procedures in the nose can improve the anatomy, such that the use of CPAP is more easily tolerated. Surgical procedures, which adjust the voice box position or realign the lower jaw position, have been present for years.

Newer technologies such as implantable “pacemaker like” devices and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the tongue base are also now available.

RFA (Radiofrequency Ablation) of the Tongue Base


RFA is a newer technology that delivers precise small "packets" of radio wave energy into the tongue base with minimal discomfort and risk. The volume and size of the base of tongue is reduced. In addition, "stiffness" of the tongue base is created. Multiple procedures separated by one Month are usually recommended. Because of the smaller size and the increased stiffness of the tongue base, breathing is improved, and the possibility of airway obstruction lessened.

Sleep Apnea & RFA- Tongue Base


  • Much shorter recovery time (1-2 days), in comparison to other OSA surgeries (several weeks)
  • Significantly less post-operative pain
  • Simple and easy in-office procedure taking less than 30 minutes


  • Lessens daytime sleepiness
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Decreases risk of heart disease, heart failure, and stroke
  • Reduces the risk of car accidents


RFA is a great treatment option for patients who meet some of the following criteria:

  • If you maintain the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea as diagnosed by a sleep study
  • If you are unable or unwilling to use CPAP

RFA of the Tongue Base for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

> Read Scott's full story