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Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a procedure used to remove
excess tissue in the throat to widen the airway. This sometimes can allow air
to move through the throat more easily when you breathe, reducing snoring. The
tissues removed may include:
It takes about 3 weeks to recover from surgery. It may be very
difficult to swallow during this time. Because of this, only 60% of those
having the surgery say they would undergo it again.1
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is sometimes used to treat
snoring in people so that their bed partner can sleep
better. It is rarely used and only considered in cases of very severe snoring
when other treatments have failed. It may be used in people who:
UPPP is often effective in reducing snoring initially. Over the
long term, it cures snoring in 46% to 73% of those who have had this
Complications during surgery include accidental damage to
surrounding blood vessels or tissues.
Complications after surgery may include:
Surgery is rarely used to treat snoring. It may not completely cure
snoring, and the risks of surgery may not be worth the small benefit you
If you develop
sleep apnea after having UPPP, diagnosis may be
delayed because you do not snore. Snoring is the major symptom of sleep
Snoring is not always considered a medical problem, so insurance
may not cover treatment.
Before considering surgery, all people who snore should try
Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty also may be used to
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Kashima ML (2007). Selected disorders of the nose and throat: Epistaxis, snoring, anosmia, hoarseness, and hiccups. In NH Fiebach et al., eds., Principles of Ambulatory Medicine, 7th ed., pp. 1849–1864. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
January 20, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
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