LAUP | Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty

LAUP – Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty

LAUP is the acronym, for Laser-assisted Uvulopalatoplasty.

LAUP is a technique, which uses lasers to shorten the uvula and vaporize parts of your palate.

Whereas UPPP is performed under a general anesthetic, LAUP can be done under local anesthetic.

LAUP Treatment Is Used If You Have:

  • Loud, habitual snoring. However, research indicates that snoring may return, usually within 2 years after the surgery.
  • Upper airway resistance syndrome, in which nighttime breathing is obstructed but does not actually stop. Symptoms include feeling drowsy during the day, snoring a lot, and waking up frequently during the night.
  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea, which is stopped or slowed breathing during sleep.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder in which breathing is obstructed by closure or collapse of the tissues in the throat so that no air flows through the sleeper's nose or mouth despite his efforts to breathe.

Fluttering soft palate and uvula (the tissue that hangs from the back of the throat) causes snoring, which vibrates as the patient breathes. Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. To confirm the presence of obstructive sleep apnea, an overnight sleep study is usually needed.

LAUP Treatment Procedure

A laser beam is utilized in the Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) procedure to remove and tighten floppy soft palate tissue in the back of the mouth, thereby reducing the amount that these tissues contribute to snoring.

Although surgical, this procedure can be performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting. Before administration of anesthesia, you are informed that the back of your throat will become numb and that you will lose the sensation of swallowing and breathing.

Most patients find that postoperative discomfort is mild, equivalent to a few days' worth of a sore throat. Many people find that their snoring is significantly reduced and sometimes eliminated through the LAUP. Some patients do however require multiple LAUP treatments to efficiently get rid of severe snoring.

LAUP needs up to five treatments spaced four to eight weeks apart (although one to three are usual). 

Under Which Conditions LAUP Is Recommended?

You may be a prime candidate for LAUP, if your snoring is habitual and troublesome to others. Your otolaryngologist will evaluate you and ask the following questions:

  • Do you have daytime sleepiness?
  • Do you have morning headaches or tiredness?
  • Do you wake up frequently in the middle of the night?
  • Do you snore loudly and disturb your family and friends?
  • Do you have frequent episodes of obstructed breathing during sleep?

Suitability for LAUP is determined after examination of your health history, lifestyle factors such as exercise, alcohol, smoking, etc, cardiovascular condition, and current medications in use. In order to evaluate the cause of the snoring, you will also receive a physical and otolaryngological examination.

Before the laser surgery is conducted, you will participate in a "sleep study," which will position the level of actual snoring and sleep apnea. This will complete the evaluation necessary for prescribing the appropriate treatment for your needs.

You can expect to return to a usual routine almost immediately if you undergo the LAUP surgery. For the majority of those undergoing this surgery there will be swallowing pain similar to a severe sore throat.

This discomfort lasts for approximately ten days and can be relieved by oral analgesic and anti-inflammatory medicines. Improvement is noted by the reduction in or disappearance of your snoring.


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