Procedure

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty- Ear Nose And Throat (ENT)

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Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a surgical procedure that can open up the upper airways by taking out excess tissue in the throat. It may be done to treat mild obstructive rest apnea (OSA) or snoring.

This procedure can remove the soft tissue at the back of the throat. These soft tissues include the following:

  • All or part of the uvula, which is the soft fold of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth
  • Parts of the tissue along the edges of the throat and the soft palate
  • Tonsils and adenoids

Why is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty required?

Your doctor may suggest that you undergo this procedure if you have mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This procedure may also be done if you have loud snoring, whether or not you have obstructive sleep apnea. Before you undergo this procedure:

  • Lose weight and see if it can decrease your snoring
  • Be serious about your snoring and seek out other treatments first before you undergo surgery

In some cases, UPPP is done alongside other more invasive procedures to treat serious OSA.

Which doctor to consult?

Talk to an otolaryngologist/ENT surgeon, who will explain to you about the procedure, the risks and after-care.

What to expect during uvulopalatopharyngoplasty?

UPPP is a procedure that removes the tonsils, the front surface of the soft palate at the back of the throat, and the uvula, so as to widen the airways. This can enable more air to travel through the throat while you are sleeping, so as to decrease your snoring.

The UPPP procedure is done in a hospital, under general anesthesia.

Post-operative care

This procedure may require you to have an overnight stay at a hospital to ensure that you can swallow. The UPPP procedure can bring about mild pain and full recovery may take 2 or 3 weeks.

  • Your throat may be sore for a few weeks after the procedure. You may be given pain medicines to ease the pain.
  • You may have stitches at the back of your throat. These stitches may dissolve on their own or the doctor may remove then during your follow-up visit.
  • You may eat soft foods and fluids for the initial 2 weeks after the procedure. Stay away from crunchy foods that are difficult to chew.
  • You may gargle after meals with salt and water solution for the initial 7 to 10 days.
  • You should avoid vigorous physical activity in the initial 2 weeks after the procedure. You may walk and do light movements after 24 hours.
  • You will have a follow-up visit with your doctor 2 or 3 weeks after the procedure.

Complications

The risks for anesthesia and surgery may include the following, though these are rare:

  • Reactions to medicines
  • Breathing problems
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Mucus in the throat
  • Changes in speech

References

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) : MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Medlineplus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007663.htm. Published 2019. Accessed January 14, 2019.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty UPPP - Procedures - National Sinus Institute. National Sinus Institute. https://www.nationalsinusinstitute.com/our-services/procedures/uvulopalatopharyngoplasty/. Published 2019. Accessed January 14, 2019.
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