Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty | UPPP | Sleep Apnea Surgery

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty Sleep Apnea Surgery

There is too much tissue in the uvula or the soft palate in some sleep apnea patients.

The uvula is “the soft finger-like tissue that hangs down from the roof of the mouth into the throat” while the soft palate is “part of the roof of the mouth.”

In this case a sleep apnea surgery, known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), is sometimes undertaken. This sleep apnea surgery can prove advantageous to some patients but not others.

Reasons For Considering UPPP

The case of the airway obstruction plays a big role in deciding what type of sleep apnea treatment and/or surgery is required. Also known as UPPP this sleep apnea surgery involves the removal of the tonsils as well as parts of the uvula and soft palate.

In some cases excess tissue from the throat such as the adenoids and tonsils must be removed as well. There are also cases where a patient’s tongue is so big that it causes breathing problems and therefore a small portion of it must be taken out. This procedure alone is known as an uvulopalatopharyngoglossoplasty.

After undergoing UPPP the patient might still find it essential to need continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This is simply a breathing apparatus resembling a mask that is worn over the face at night to allow patient easier time breathing and to discourage the airways from closing up during sleep time.

There might be some discomfort after this kind of sleep apnea surgery is done however there are some types of pain medication that patients are not advised to take because of the role they play in relaxing the muscles of the throat. These forms of medicine could serve to narrow breathing passages and therefore bring on an apnea event.

In general, UPPP surgery is done for those whom the doctor has diagnosed has having sleep apnea due to too much tissue in their mouth, throat or nose that restricts the flow of air.

As well those patients who either cannot use or do not want to use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) are encouraged to consider uvulopalatopharyngoplasty as a viable option for their health condition.

Also those patients who have been using CPAP for a significant length of time but do not notice any great enhancement might do well to consider UPPP surgery. Finally those who suffer from severe sleep apnea but do not want to proceed with a tracheostomy to help them might want to consider this surgical alternative.

Adults more often undergo this sleep apnea surgery than do children. For children who experience sleep apnea their adenoids and tonsils are often removed although this form of surgery is not done as often as it was in past generations.

Risks And Complications Associated With Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty

UPPP carries with it a certain amount of risks or complications. Sometimes there is damage done to neighboring tissues and blood vessels, which can lead to other health concerns.

As well some medications taken for pain can lead to sleep apnea episodes and a general feeling of not having had enough sleep. Often times patients will experience pain, swelling, some bleeding and sometimes infections do arise.

Speech is not always the same after a UPPP procedure. Many patients notice a nasal quality to their voice after having this sleep apnea surgery. Finally the airway for both the nose and the throat can become narrowed after this sleep apnea surgery takes place.

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