Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a type of surgery. It removes a small piece of tissue that hangs in the back of your throat. This is your uvula. After this tissue is removed, air may move through your throat better when you breathe.
This surgery may be used to treat sleep apnea that has not been helped by other treatments. Sleep apnea happens when your throat is narrow or blocked by tissue. It can make you regularly stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer when you sleep.
You will be asleep during surgery. The doctor takes out your uvula and may also take out the tonsils and part of the soft palate. The soft palate is the back part of the roof of your mouth.
After surgery, you may snore less. But not all snoring will stop. This surgery does not fix snoring that happens when the tongue relaxes. So you may still need to use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is a breathing device you wear when you sleep. It prevents your airway from closing. This helps you breathe more easily.
You will probably go home the day after surgery. In about 1 to 2 weeks, you can probably go back to work or most of your usual activities. But you may need 3 to 6 weeks to fully recover.
How Well It Works
UPPP may reduce sleep apnea in some people, but results are mixed
Even if surgery removes the blockage, you may still need CPAP after surgery.
Complications during surgery include accidental damage to surrounding blood vessels or tissues.
Complications after surgery may include:
- A sore throat and problems swallowing.
- Speech problems. The surgery may result in a nasal quality to the voice.
- Changes in how food tastes.
- Swelling, pain, infection, or bleeding.
- Narrowing of the airway in the nose and throat.
- Sleepiness and periods of not breathing (apnea) related to the medicines that are used to relieve pain and help you sleep.
Current as of: October 26, 2020
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