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Procedures: Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)


Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, commonly referred to as UPPP, is a surgical procedure aimed at treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and other severe sleep disorders. At Norelle Health’s Department of Sleep Medicine, our board-certified surgeons are highly trained in conducting UPPP with precision and care. This page serves as a comprehensive guide on what you can expect from the UPPP procedure, including its benefits, risks, and post-operative care.

What is UPPP?

UPPP is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess tissue from the throat to widen the airway and facilitate unobstructed breathing during sleep. The procedure commonly involves the removal or alteration of the uvula, the soft palate, and sometimes the tonsils and part of the pharynx.

Benefits of UPPP

  • Alleviation of Sleep Apnea Symptoms: For the right candidates, UPPP can significantly reduce the occurrences of airway collapse, improving the quality of sleep and reducing daytime fatigue.
  • Reduced Snoring: Many patients also experience a dramatic reduction in snoring.
  • Enhanced General Well-Being: Improved sleep generally results in better focus, reduced stress, and an overall improved quality of life.

Risks of UPPP

  • Postoperative Pain: Throat pain, difficulty swallowing, and changes in voice are common post-surgery effects.
  • Infection: As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection.
  • Failure to Resolve OSA: UPPP does not guarantee a complete cure for OSA, and additional treatments like CPAP may still be required.
  • Changes in Voice Tone: Some patients may experience a nasal quality to their voice post-surgery.

What to Expect During Surgery

  • Preparation: Before surgery, patients may undergo a variety of tests, including sleep studies and imaging scans.
  • Anesthesia: UPPP is usually performed under general anesthesia.
  • Duration: The surgery typically takes about one to two hours.
  • Hospital Stay: Most patients stay in the hospital overnight for observation, although some may be discharged the same day depending on their medical condition.

Post-Operative Care

  • Pain Management: Pain medication will be prescribed to manage throat pain and discomfort.
  • Diet: A liquid or soft diet is usually recommended initially, progressing to solid foods as tolerated.
  • Activity: Physical activity should be limited for at least one week post-surgery.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: Regular follow-ups will be scheduled to monitor healing and assess the efficacy of the procedure.

Effects and Outcomes

  • Immediate Effects: Some patients experience immediate relief in symptoms, while others may take weeks to notice significant changes.
  • Long-Term Efficacy: The long-term success of UPPP in treating OSA varies from patient to patient. Adherence to post-operative care guidelines and continued monitoring are crucial for optimal results.
  • Additional Treatments: Some patients may still require CPAP therapy or additional procedures for comprehensive management of OSA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is UPPP a permanent solution for OSA?
While UPPP can be highly effective, it’s not a guaranteed permanent solution for everyone.

What is the recovery time?
Recovery varies but most patients return to normal activities within two to three weeks.

Meet Norelle Health

Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS is double board-certified in Head and Neck Surgery and Facial Plastic Surgery and Reconstruction. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He treats many conditions,... Learn More »