What is radio frequency volume reduction for the throat?

Radio Frequency Volume Reduction for the Throat
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Radio frequency volume reduction for the throat: Overview

Radio frequency volume reduction for the throat may reduce snoring. It may also be used to treat breathing problems such as obstructive sleep apnea.

You can get this treatment in a doctor's office or a clinic. First, your doctor will numb the area. Then a needle is put into the roof of your mouth (palate) or your tongue. A small electric current goes through the needle. This opens up the blocked area. The area will heal over the next 6 to 8 weeks. As it heals, the flow of air should improve and you may snore less.

The procedure takes about 30 minutes. Most people go home right after it is done. You will probably be able to return to work or your normal routine the next day. You may need more than one treatment.

How can you care for yourself after radio frequency volume reduction for the throat?


  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover. Sleep with your head propped up by 3 or 4 pillows.
  • Most people are able to return to work or their normal routine the next day.


  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • If it is painful to swallow, start out with cold drinks, flavored ice pops, and ice cream. Next, try soft foods like pudding, yogurt, canned or cooked fruit, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes. Do not eat hard or scratchy foods like chips or raw vegetables. Avoid orange or tomato juice and other acidic foods that can sting the throat.


  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

How do you prepare for a radio frequency volume reduction of the throat?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don’t have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It’s a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

After radio frequency volume reduction for the throat: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • You have trouble breathing.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • You have new or worse trouble swallowing.
  • You are bleeding.

Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You are not getting better as expected.

After radio frequency volume reduction of the throat: Overview

You had radio frequency volume reduction for your throat. Your doctor put a needle into the roof of your mouth (palate) or your tongue. A small electric current went through the needle to open up the blocked area.

Many people have no pain right after the procedure, but you may have a sore throat for 4 or 5 days. You may also have some swelling of the tissues in the back of the throat. The swelling feels like a lump. If there is pain, it is usually mild right after the procedure. It gets a little worse 4 or 5 days after the procedure, and then it starts to get better. You can take medicine for the pain.

Over the next 6 to 8 weeks, the area will heal. You may notice that you have better airflow sooner. You may be snoring less or not at all.

Most people can go back to work or their normal routine the next day.

What happens on the day of radio frequency volume reduction of the throat?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions about when to bathe or shower before your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the surgery center or doctor's office

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
  • The procedure will take about 30 minutes.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.