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Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty - Surgical Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea troubled husband snoring loudly and wife holding pillow on her ears.Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, known more simply as UPPP, is a surgical procedure that we perform to remove excess skin from inside the throat to open airways and help a patient breathe better and reduce snoring while they sleep. At Dallas Oral Surgery Associates, we can help treat obstructive sleep apnea with surgical and non-surgical treatment options. We can help you get a more restful night’s sleep.

UPPP can be an uncomfortable surgical procedure. Surgical treatment for sleep apnea is just one option; there are other non-surgical options available. Some non-surgical options are as simple as wearing a specialized retainer while you sleep. This includes a mandibular advancement device to bring your lower jaw forward, and a tongue retaining device that prevents your tongue from slipping backwards while you sleep.


Your uvula is part of the soft-tissue in the back of your palate, towards your throat. It is commonly blamed for snoring and sleep apnea. Surgical treatment involves reshaping the tissue in your throat, including the uvula, soft palate and other throat tissue. By trimming excess palatal and pharyngeal tissue around the uvula, we can widen the airway and hopefully relieve your obstructive sleep apnea and decrease severe snoring. If the patient suffers from an enlarged tongue causing the obstructive sleep apnea, we may discuss removing a small part of the tongue, called an uvulopalatopharyngoglossoplasty.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that can have serious effects on your immediate well-being and your long term health. In the immediate, sleep apnea causes you to get less REM sleep because your brain is roused slightly multiple times throughout the night to take in a deep breath. In the long term, the effects of loss of sleep and the production of stress hormones from your brain can cause high blood pressure, increase the likelihood of stroke, and even lead to other problems such as diabetes.

UPPP Procedure

Prior to surgery, we may ask that the patient stop taking certain medications or stop smoking to help the area heal better. Your UPPP procedure may look different than another’s because it will depend on the location that we are removing tissue and the amount of tissue being taken. Each surgical procedure is customized to fit the patient and their needs. In some cases, the patient may be required to stay in a hospital overnight to ensure that they are able to swallow properly.

Recovering from UPPP surgery can be uncomfortable. You may find difficulty or discomfort in swallowing for weeks after. Most patients report having a sore throat for two to three weeks following surgery. We will advise you on signs of infection and how to avoid excessive bleeding.

Who Would Benefit From UPPP?

Trying non-surgical methods should always be the first attempt at overcoming any condition. We may discuss the attributes of non-surgical options such as weight loss, eliminating smoking, varying sleeping devices, or the CPAP machine before we recommend surgery. Surgery is an option for patients who have tried other options and are still not finding relief from obstructive sleep apnea.
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