Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty - Surgical Sleep Apnea Treatment
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or UPPP, is a surgical treatment option for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. This procedure involves removing excess tissue from inside the throat to open the airway, reducing snoring and improving breathing.
Like most surgeries, UPPP can be an uncomfortable procedure. We will provide a number of non-surgical options, such as a specialized retainer or other dental appliance, before opting for surgical treatment. These appliances may be a mandibular advancement device that brings the lower jaw forward or a tongue-retaining device that prevents the tongue from slipping back into the throat while sleeping.
Most surgical procedures designed to address sleep apnea involve removing or reshaping tissue in the throat, nasal cavity, or the airway as a whole. UPPP targets the uvula, soft palate, and other throat tissue. Our surgeons can widen the airway, decrease severe snoring, and relieve obstructive sleep apnea by trimming excess palatal and pharyngeal tissue around the uvula. If an enlarged tongue is contributing to the obstructive sleep apnea, we may discuss removing a small part of the tongue with a surgical treatment known as a uvulopalatopharyngoglossoplasty.
Obstructive sleep apnea is responsible for periodic interruptions in breathing and REM sleep. Obstructed breathing while sleeping results in the brain being roused to gasp for air throughout the night. When untreated, sleep apnea can have a serious impact on your immediate and long-term health. The loss of sleep and repeated, extended release of stress hormones from the brain can cause high blood pressure, increase the risk of stroke, and contribute to diabetes.
Every UPPP procedure is customized to fit the needs of the patient. For this reason, the location and amount of tissue being removed will vary between patients. You may be asked to stop smoking or taking certain medications prior to surgery to aid the recovery process. Some patients may also be required to stay overnight in a hospital to ensure that they are able to swallow properly.
Recovering from UPPP surgery can be especially uncomfortable due to the location of the surgery site. You may experience a sore throat for 2-3 weeks following surgery, and swallowing may be difficult at first. During your consultation, you will be advised on how to avoid excessive bleeding during recovery and how to detect signs of infection.
Who Benefits From UPPP?
Surgical treatments for sleep apnea are typically reserved for when dental appliances and non-surgical treatments have failed to provide relief. Non-surgical options may include lifestyle changes such as weight loss or eliminating smoking. We may suggest using a CPAP machine or other appliances before we recommend surgery.
Are you hoping to address your sleep apnea symptoms? Unsure of your treatment options? Call our office at 214-363-9946 to schedule a consultation and determine which treatment options are right for you.