Coblation Tongue Surgery is a means of causing a reduction in the size of the tongue so that it may cause less collapse into your airway at night and hence, improve your snoring and sleep apnoea. If Mr Burgess has found significant tongue base collapse into your upper airway, he may suggest that Coblation Tongue Surgery has a role in the treatment of your sleep disordered breathing.

The procedure is a fast, effective, easily tolerated technique with most patients having minimal side-effects. The procedure is generally performed under a general anaesthetic where a small probe is placed into the posterior 2/3rds of the tongue in the midline and other areas in the rear of the tongue, to cause shrinkage and tightening of the tongue.

Placement of the wand is designed to cause maximal improvement in the size of the tongue with minimal side-effects.

The Coblation process, using a plasma wand, is designed to cause a gentle shrinkage of the deep musculature and connective tissue of the tongue whilst leaving the surface intact and causing minimal discomfort. Each placement of the probe into the depth of the tongue will cause a channel of shrinkage of the tongue musculature, which over the next 4 to 6 weeks will gradually cause the tongue, itself, to shrink down in size and continue to improve snoring and sleep apnoea.

Visible and permanent reduction in tongue size has been measured to occur in this procedure with minimal post-operative discomfort and significant improvement in snoring and sleep disordered breathing.


Coblation is an advanced technique that quickly and effectively removes and shrinks soft tissue inside the tongue using gentle radiofrequency energy and natural saline. Coblation is a non-heated driven process so that the surrounding healthy tissue, on the surface of the tongue, is preserved allowing a fast and easy recovery.


Whilst side-effects from Coblation Tongue Channelling are rare, sometimes minor pain and discomfort can occur and this will be treated with simple analgesics. Occasionally some bruising can be seen and this should settle rapidly over the next few days.

Like any procedure, rare complications can occur. Injury to the nerves and blood vessels of the tongue is possible, although these instances are very uncommon. If they did occur some shrinkage and wasting of the tongue muscle could occur, which may, if severe, cause an alteration or movement of the tongue and possibly some affects on speech and tongue movement. In a larger series of tongue channelling reported, in over 2,000 cases, there were no reported incidences of this occurring.

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