Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

Definition

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is surgery to open the upper airways by taking out extra tissue in the throat. It may be done to treat mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or severe snoring.

Description

UPPP removes soft tissue at the back of the throat. This includes:

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Your doctor may recommend this surgery if you have mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Your doctor may recommend this surgery to treat severe snoring, even if you do not have OSA. Before you decide about this surgery:

Sometimes, UPPP is done along with other more invasive surgeries to treat more severe OSA.

Risks

Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Risks for this surgery are:

Before the Procedure

Be sure to tell your doctor or nurse:

During the days before the surgery:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure

This surgery most often requires an overnight stay in the hospital to make sure you can swallow. UPPP surgery can be painful and full recovery takes 2 or 3 weeks.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Sleep apnea improves at first for about half of the people who have this surgery. Over time, the benefit wears off for many people.

Some studies suggest that surgery is best suited only for people with abnormalities in the soft palate.


Review Date: 4/3/2017
Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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