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Surgery for swollen uvula

Swollen uvula surgery conducted to treat snoring is intended for the most severe cases of snoring in which other, less dramatic treatments have produced no improvement. Lifestyle factors and age influence the snoring of an individual, yet surgical treatment can be done to minimize it as much as possible. In most cases, excess soft tissue is removed from areas affecting one’s snoring (such as the throat) or structures are modified to allow the passing of more air. Though it may not successfully cure the issue of uvula, snoring surgery should still be seen as a last resort when all else has failed.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)

The UPPP surgery consists of removing excess tissue in the throat to widen the patient’s airway. This procedure allows air to pass more freely through the throat, thereby minimizing snoring. The most common tissue removed is that of the soft palate region (roof of the mouth), though the uvula, tonsils, and the pharynx are also removed in some cases. The soft palate tissue that is not removed is “squared off” to improve its position and decrease snoring. This procedure is done with general anesthesia, along with an overnight hospital stay. In the long term, this form of surgery cures swollen uvula in up to 40% of patients.

Uvulopalatoplasty (UP)

Under UP surgery, the patient’s uvula located at the rear of the mouth is either partially or entirely removed with a carbon dioxide laser. This office-based surgery is done under local anesthesia without sedation. The procedure itself combines tissue removal with tightening to widen the airway without causing damage to the patient’s ability to breathe, speak and swallow. Multiple visits are most usually required, with each treatment lasting around 30 minutes.

Palate implants(Pillar Procedure)

Done under local anesthesia, palate implants consist of inserting thin, pillar-like polyester implants into the roof of the patient’s mouth by piercing the soft palate with a hollow needle that contains the implant. The implants, typically being around 18mm long, are inserted into the muscle layer and the needle is then withdrawn, making this surgery a relatively simple procedure. Most commonly several implants are placed in one sitting, around the mid-line of the soft palate — over the course of several weeks, the soft palate will stiffen, tightening itself to minimize tissue vibration, thus resulting in less snoring. Minimally invasive, the procedure is commonly done at one’s doctor’s office in 20 to 30 minutes.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure that shrinks the excess tissue in the soft palate region using heat. The inner tissue is heated to 85 degrees Celsius, scarring the tissue beneath the surface in a minimally invasive manner. Once affected by the heat, the cells in the region become destroyed, and are then reabsorbed by the body, resulting in the stiffening of the area. Performed most commonly in an out-patient clinic, one treatment takes around half an hour minutes to complete. It is considered to be much less painful than similar conditions, yet numerous sessions are required in an outpatient’s office with local anesthetic. Mild pain and swelling commonly result from the swollen uvula treatment, though the outer skin layer of the area remains undamaged.

Nasal septoplasty repairs and straightens the bone and tissues (septum) separating the two passages in the nose. This procedure is done if a nasal deformity interferes with breathing. Nasal polypectomy removes soft, round tissues (polyps) that can project into the nasal passages. Implanting plastic cylinders into the soft palate can stiffen it and help prevent it from vibrating.


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