Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty for Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
is a surgery that involves the removal of any excess tissue in the throat in order to enlarge the airway. The excess tissue could involve the tonsils, uvula, pharynx, adenoids or the soft palate. While the uvula and the tonsils are removed, the soft palate needs to be trimmed.
is a very common surgery to treat obstructive sleep apnea and it is also in short known as
People suffering from sleep apnea go through certain periods during their sleep where one’s breathing just stops. So, this surgery is performed so that the airway in such patients is enlarged. The tissues (which have been mentioned above) are removed pave way for the enlargement and also this surgery introduces scarring in the throat which keeps it from collapsing often.
Who is Known to Benefit the Most?:
The following factors should be considered before undergoing UPPP –
- one must have been documented as a sleep apnea patient after conducting a sleep study
- one should have already undergone Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment with no relief achieved
- the afore mentioned anatomic factors should exists and it should be diagnosed that the obstruction of air is happening at the mouth
Also, people who choose not to have CPAP or tracheostomy (opening the windpipe) can also opt for UPPP.
The exact efficacy of this surgery is not known and the effects are still not clear. But nearly 50-60 percent patients who opt for CPPP are known to experience relief from their sleep apnea symptoms. One definite gain from the surgery is – no more snoring.
But even if the blockage is removed by using UPPP, CPAP may still be required after the surgery. In CPAP, a person would have to wear a mask (a breathing device) when asleep that would keep the airway from closing and makes sure that the breathing process is more easy.
During the surgery, there is a probable chance for the blood vessels in the throat to get damaged and after the surgery-
- post-surgery painkillers can lead to apnea episodes
- pain and swelling
- problems with speech
It is recommended to go for
only after trying CPAP. Other surgeries like uvulopalatoplasty can be tried to treat mild to moderate forms of apnea.