Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (Snoring treatment)

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Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UP3) is a surgical process utilized to remove excess tissue in the throat to increase the airspace. Generally, the result of this procedure permits air to travel easily through the throat, relieving snoring.

These are the throat tissues that may be removed:

  • Uvula
  • Soft palate
  • Tonsils, adenoids, and pharynx

Throat Illustration

The Reason It’s Done

UP3 is seldom used and only taken into consideration in very severe snoring conditions when other treatments have failed. The goal is to enlarge airspace and stabilize the airway.

This procedure may be performed in people who:

  • Possess excess tissue in the nose, mouth, or throat that obstructs the airway.
  • Fail to stop snoring after making lifestyle improvements such as reducing weight and sleeping on their sides.

Post-Surgery Pain

You will experience a moderate to severe pain level for the first few days after surgery. Pain is usually the worst on the third or fourth day after the surgery.

Pain, especially from swallowing, may last from 10 days to 3 weeks after surgery. Ear pain is common after surgery because one of the nerves to the ear passes near the tonsil area. It does not mean you have an ear infection.

Pain medication will be prescribed to you and should be taken as directed.

After Surgery Care

You may or may not be admitted to an intensive care unit for 24 hours. Our nurses will monitor you closely especially if you have underlying cardiac or pulmonary disease.

You have to follow a soft diet for two weeks.

Oral rinses with salt water or half strength hydrogen peroxide after meals ought to be done for the first week after surgery.

Your doctor will give you instructions regarding your next check-up and repeat sleep study.

Take the first step and contact us through our no-cost virtual consultation. During this process, we will recommend options that will work best for you. Every client is different, so our virtual consultants and surgeons tailor the procedure to match each person’s needs.


Complications at the time of surgery include accidental injury to adjacent blood vessels or tissues.

Complications after surgery may include:

  • Severe pain, swelling, infection, and bleeding.
  • Difficulty swallowing and sore throat.
  • Drowsiness and times of sleep apnea (both linked to the effects of anesthesia).
  • Speech problems like a nasal quality to the voice.
  • Changes in how food tastes.

The Procedure

UP3 is done under general anesthesia. A self-retaining mouth gag is placed with care to protect the teeth and tongue.

Your surgeon will evaluate your throat to determine the features contributing to narrowing: tonsils, redundant uvula or tonsillar pillars, etc.

Your surgeon will then perform tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils). This procedure may be performed last by your surgeon.

Your surgeon will then surgically trim off excess, loose or floppy tissue along the lower soft margin of the palate. The uvula is partially or completely removed.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty Illustration

Finally, your surgeon will close the incision wound and throat is irrigated and suctioned to remove the accumulated blood and fluid.

The mouth gag is then removed, and the teeth and tongue are examined for any injury.

The shape or appearance of the palate after healing is generally quite different because there is no longer a uvula dangling down the center, but instead, there is a usually smooth curved arc across the palate. Also, it looks significantly shorter.

It is obligatory for you to stay overnight in the hospital.

This procedure, in general, reduces the rate of apneic episodes in half. So you may still end up needing other forms of treatment. A sleep study is conducted around 3 months after surgery to evaluate the results of the surgery.

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