Sleep Apnea Treatment
Uvulectomy is preformed to reduce snoring and in combination with other procedures to improve obstructive sleep apnea. If you have an enlarged or elongated uvula (the “bell” at the back of the throat), you may be a candidate for an uvulectomy to reduce your snoring. A common source of snoring is from the fluttering of the uvula and soft palate.
Uvulectomy is preformed by its self or often combined with other palatal procedures such as Pillar Procedure, Radiofrequency of soft palate, Palatoplasty (Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty aka LAUP) to reduce snoring.
The procedure is preformed in the office under local anesthesia or at the surgical center under sedation as an out patient. In our practice we prefer to use the laser in preforming uvulectomy (LAUP). Part of the uvula mucosa and the musculature are left intact since this structure aids in swallowing and keeping the back of the throat moist. If the entire uvula is removed patients will experience a dry throat or a ball in back of the throat.
Snoring is significantly improved in 80-85 percent of carefully screened patients undergoing these procedures. In patients with mild sleep apnea who undergo surgical trimming of the soft palate, snoring related symptoms improve 75-85 percent, while apnea may improve in approximately 50 percent of patients. Snoring or apnea may persist to some degree if the patient’s specific anatomy demonstrates narrowing of the nasal passages or lower part of the throat behind the tongue.
- Bleeding is rare. If bleeding occurs, it may require cauterization in the office or hospital.
- A dry, tight, lump or excess mucous sensation in the throat may occur. This sensation is usually temporary, and is rarely persistant.
- Temporary swallowing difficulty may be experienced after the procedure. Liquids could enter your nose while swallowing or go down your throat too quickly and make you cough. Some patients may notice more difficulty with drinking from a drinking fountain or drinking carbonated beverages such as soda.
- Temporary voice alteration may also be seen after the procedure. Sometimes the remaining palate may take several weeks to effectively close off the nose as it should. You could have a more nasal quality to your voice for several weeks (or have difficulty playing a wind or brass instrument or blowing up a balloon). This is temporary and will resolve in a few weeks. Rarely do these complications persist permanently
Talk to our doctors to see for what procedure or combinations you are a candidate for. Our team will take into factor your social requirements, physical exam and diagnostic studies prior to formulating a treatment plan for you. Please talk to your doctor about your risks as well as alternatives.