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Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that there are no major safety concerns and there is short-term evidence that it works. The evidence for whether it works in the long term is not as strong though. The 9 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 643 patients.

Generally, they showed the following benefits:

  • less snoring and sleepiness during the day 6 to 8 weeks after the procedure – although only 2 out of the 12 patients in this study reported no or almost no snoring

  • better quality of life (although some people reported no improvement)

  • a quarter of patients in one study were 'satisfied' 3 to 4 years later.

Some people needed to have another procedure.

The studies showed that the risks of radiofrequency ablation of the soft palate for snoring included:

  • bleeding

  • swelling, which can be severe enough to need treatment in hospital

  • damage to the lining of the mouth

  • infection – one patient went on to develop an abscess

  • ulcers.

NICE was also told there was a possible risk of puncturing the soft palate.

If you want to know more about the studies see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard