• NYC Office
  • 1175 Park Avenue, Suite 1B,
    New York, NY 10128
  • working hours
  • MON - SAT : 8:00 AM - 6 PM

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) For Sleep Apnea


What Is Radiofrequency Ablation?

For those suffering from symptoms and side effects of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) caused by an enlarged tongue or weak tongue muscles, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a safe state-of-the-art treatment known for its positive results. RFA is generally conducted in an outpatient setting, using either local anesthetics or sedation anesthesia. The minimally invasive procedure is done over the course of five to eight treatments. Each procedure takes less than 45 minutes from start to finish, with the actual treatment to the area lasting only two to five minutes.

Does Radiofrequency Ablation cure sleep apnea?

In some cases, RFA may be recommended for patients who were not able to tolerate CPAP machine therapy – or for whom a custom oral appliance was not effective. However, like many alternative treatments, RFA does not offer a complete cure, but rather an added measure of relief for some of the symptoms and side effects of sleep apnea. These include snoring, daytime fatigue and drowsiness, risk of heart failure and Type 2 diabetes.

How does Radiofrequency Ablation work?

The base of the tongue area is a common site of airway obstruction in sleep apnea patients. RFA is a technique to prevent the base of the tongue from obstructing the airway. Using a special non-invasive instrument, the physician directs small amounts of radiofrequency heat energy into the muscle at the back of the tongue, subsequently shrinking and tightening the tongue tissues and creating more space for breathing. The benefits of RFA include:

  • It’s a relatively simple, outpatient procedure that’s similar to having a dental procedure.
  • It enlarges the airway and prevents the tongue from obstructing airflow during sleep.
  • RFA helps reduce snoring and lessen other side effects of sleep apnea.
  • There is little discomfort during the procedure. Being that only a local anesthetic is used, the patient can drive to and from the office.
  • The recovery is quick and the patient can return to work or school the next day. There is typically very little post-operative pain.
  • RFA is extremely effective at treating the desired tissue, with minimal or no collateral tissue damage.

Is RFA covered by insurance?

Radiofrequency ablation for the treatment of sleep apnea may not be covered by health insurance unless it is medically prescribed specifically for the treatment of sleep apnea. The only way to receive coverage for any sleep apnea treatment is to have a sleep test conducted by a recognized sleep center and board certified physicians like those at NYC SleepWell. That’s why it’s important to schedule an appointment with NYC SleepWell. Based on a medical history and physical exam, we’ll determine if further testing is required. Our financial specialists are always available to help gather your insurance information and contact your insurance provider in order to determine your coverage. Please feel free to call us to schedule your appointment and answer any questions you may have.

Why choose NYC SleepWell for RFA?

Led by Dr. Ruben Cohen, a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, our skilled team of sleep specialists, ENT surgeons, dentists and anaesthesiologists have extensive experience in radiofrequency ablation — in addition to other surgical treatments for a wide array of conditions related to sleep apnea. For your added peace-of-mind, our facility is accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), the Gold Standard in Accreditation. Our goal at NYC SleepWell, plain and simple, is to help you sleep well – and be healthy!


The Premier Center for Sleep Solutions in NYC

Call NYCSleepWell today at212-461-9119
Request Appointment