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Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a procedure used to remove excess tissue in the throat to widen the airway. This sometimes can allow air to move through the throat more easily when you breathe, reducing snoring. The tissues removed may include:
It takes about 3 weeks to recover from surgery. It may be very difficult to swallow during this time. Because of this, only 60% of those having the surgery say they would undergo it again.1
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is sometimes used to treat snoring in people so that their bed partner can sleep better. It is rarely used and only considered in cases of very severe snoring when other treatments have failed. It may be used in people who:
UPPP is often effective in reducing snoring initially. Over the long term, it cures snoring in 46% to 73% of those who have had this surgery.1
Complications during surgery include accidental damage to surrounding blood vessels or tissues.
Complications after surgery may include:
Surgery is rarely used to treat snoring. It may not completely cure snoring, and the risks of surgery may not be worth the small benefit you gain.
If you develop sleep apnea after having UPPP, diagnosis may be delayed because you do not snore. Snoring is the major symptom of sleep apnea.
Snoring is not always considered a medical problem, so insurance may not cover treatment.
Before considering surgery, all people who snore should try nonsurgical treatment.
Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty also may be used to treat snoring.
Last Revised: January 20, 2012
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