Some people seek treatment for sleep apnea or snoring with uvulopalatopharyngoplasty surgery or UPPP as it is often referred to. This hard to pronounce surgery entails the removal of the soft palate and the uvula. Often your tonsils are removed at the same time if you still have them.
The soft palate is in front of the uvula on the roof of the mouth and the uvula is the tissue that hangs down the back of the throat. This surgery, like any other, is not without its risks but it is quite a routine procedure today.
A general anesthesia is used – either a gas through a face mask or an endotracheal tube placed in your mouth and throat or a liquid IV. After the surgery a tracheostomy tube might be inserted through your nose or your mouth to keep the airway open. The tube would be removed once the swelling has subsided.
Recovery usually takes several days and you will do breathing exercises as deep breathing will open the tubes to your lungs. Coughing will bring up any sputum and keep your lungs clear although it will be painful at first to do these exercises. You might also need CPAP therapy which is a breathing device that you will wear at night to make your breathing easier and prevent your airways from closing up.
This surgery is usually recommended for those who have excess tissue in their nose or throat or mouth that contributes to blockage of the airways. Some people have already tried using the CPAP to assist in the sleep apnea while others want to try surgery to alleviate the snoring. It is suggested that 40-60% of people who have the UPPP surgery find some relief if not complete improvement of their symptoms. This is not usually done on children as removal of the tonsils or adenoids is usually the procedure used on them.