The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Radiofrequency ablation of the soft palate for snoring in January, 2014.
Snoring is a noisy inspiratory sound produced by vibration and partial airway obstruction in the pharynx. It is a form of sleep-disordered breathing, and can lead to disrupted sleep, daytime tiredness and poor concentration – both for the person who snores and for anyone sleeping close by. Snoring can be associated with obstructive or central sleep apnoea. However, for the purpose of this overview, the reviewed studies included patients who had an oxygen saturation level no lower than 85%.
Conservative treatments involve lifestyle changes, including weight loss, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, stopping smoking and sleep position training. Physical appliances (such as dental or oral devices) have also been used to maintain normal airflow dynamics during sleep. Procedures available for pharyngeal airway obstruction include laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP).
F32.8 Other specified other operations on palate
Y11.4 Radiofrequency controlled thermal destruction of organ NOC
This guidance represents the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account. However, the guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the guidance, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this guidance should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.