| Reasons for Procedure
| Possible Complications
| Call Your Doctor
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is surgery to remove excess tissue from
the back of the mouth and the throat. The tonsils and adenoids, if present, may
also be removed.
The Mouth and Throat
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Reasons for Procedure
UPPP is most often
done to treat sleep apnea which causes pauses in breathing during sleep. Rarely, it may be done to treat excessive snoring. Muscles in the back of your throat
relax when you sleep. When the muscles relax, the soft tissue they support can
collapse into the airway. The narrowed airway can cause snoring and sleep
UPPP removes excess soft tissue to keep the airway open
during sleep. It may be done if other methods of controlling your condition
have not been helpful.
Problems from the
procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review
potential problems, like:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia such as
lightheadedness or wheezing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vocal changes
- Swallowing problems
- Reduced sense of
- Scar tissue, which may lead to a nasal
Some patients do not respond to this
surgery. Other methods to control sleep apnea may need to be continued after
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about
ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications, such as:
- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity
This surgery is more successful in those who maintain a healthy
Your doctor may do the following:
- Physical exam
- Blood and urine tests
- Imaging tests
- Sleep studies
- A nasopharyngoscopy to view the back of your nose and
Before arriving for surgery:
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the
night before the procedure.
may cause complications during the procedure or recovery. These medications may
need to be stopped up to one week before the procedure. Talk to your doctor
before the procedure about all medications, herbs, and supplements you are
General anesthesia will be
used. It will block pain and keep you asleep through the procedure.
The doctor can gain access to the area through the
mouth. Incisions will be made to remove excess tissue. Your tonsils and
adenoids may also be removed at this time. A special tool with electrical
current or clamps and ties will be used to stop bleeding at the site. Sutures
may also be used to close some incisions.
operation, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation.
The length of the procedure will depend on the amount of
work you have.
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery.
After surgery, you may have severe pain. Pain can be managed with
This is done in a hospital. The usual
length of stay is 1 day to make sure you can swallow. If you have any problems,
you may need to stay longer. In other cases, you may not have to stay
after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure,
pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
- Pain medications
- Antibiotics to
- Steroids to reduce swelling
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to
reduce your chance of infection, such as:
- Wearing gloves or masks
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of
infection, such as:
- Washing your hands often and
reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or
- Not allowing others to touch your
may take a few days before you are comfortable enough to return to your normal
diet or return to work.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any
of these occur:
- Signs of infection, including
fever and chills
- Pain that you cannot control with the
medications you were given
- Excess bleeding or drainage
from the incision sites
- Persistent nausea or
- Signs of dehydration, such as not urinating for 8
or more hours
- Difficulty breathing
- New or worsening symptoms
If you think
you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UP 3). Ear, Nose, and Throat Center of
Utah website. Available at:
Accessed May 5, 2014.
Varieties of OSA
surgery. American Sleep Apnea Association website. Available at:
Accessed May 5, 2014.
Khan A, Ramar K, Maddirala S, Friedman O, Pallanch JF, Olson EJ. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty in the management
of obstructive sleep apnea: The Mayo Clinic experience. Mayo Clin Proc. 2009;84(9):795-800.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Donald Buck, MD
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