An operation known an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (usually abbreviated UPPP) consists of removing excess tissue at the back of the throat that may be blocking the airway during sleep. Studies show that UPPP benefits up to half of patients with obstructive sleep apnea, and more research is underway to identify the patients most likely to be helped
by this procedure.
A modified UPPP uses a laser (Laser-assisted Uvulopalatoplasty, LAUP) is a less effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea but good for patients with snoring issues.
The newest surgery, somnoplasty that was just approved by the FDA uses radiofrequency to shrink the tissues in the soft palate and tongue. This is an outpatient procedure and is still a new procedure. This procedure is not covered under insurance and the long term prognosis or the amount of treatments are not known.
These procedures are much better than the ones they used up until the 1980s; a tracheostomy. This surgical procedure where a small hole is cut in the neck and a tube with a valve is inserted into the hole. During the day the valve is closed so the person can speak. At night, the valve is opened, thus avoiding the obstructions. This procedure is only used today as a last resort or to avoid respiratory
distress, or other serious medical complications.
Call us to come in for a free consultation to see if we can help you and your sleep apnea before you see if an alternative method could work for you.