The UPPP is an operation performed on the soft palate, and side walls of the throat.
When the tonsils are still present, it involves tonsil removal (tonsillectomy).
The soft palate is a sheet of tissue at the back of the throat, the long dangly extension in the middle is called the uvula.
In normal function, the soft palate “closes off” the nose when we swallow, so food does not enter the nose.
The soft palate, back wall and sides of the throat are common sites of snoring generation, and obstruction of the airway in sleep – resulting in Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
The UPPP aims to reconstruct the position of the soft palate, so that it vibrates less (reducing snoring) and collapses less (improves OSA). This is done by repositioning the muscles and lining of the soft palate and side walls of the throat into a better position.
There are many different techniques and variations of the UPPP, and Dr Hayward will normally employ several of these “on the day” to best improve the palate position and airway.
The UPPP operation
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic with a tube through the mouth, or nose.
It takes approximately 60 mins, but may take longer depending on each individual case.
Dr Hayward will take as long as it takes to get the best result.
Following the operation, you will go to the hospital ward to recover. This is usually for 1 night, but may be longer depending on:
- Pain relief
- Oxygen levels overnight
On the night following the surgery, you will commence some soft diet, and start using the pain relief regime you will be prescribed on discharge home.
By far the most important thing to know about UPPP is that it is a VERY painful operation to recovery from!
This is not exaggerated (plan for the worst, and if you get a nice surprise that’s great)
The pain will last for 2 weeks, and during that time you will always have SOME pain.
It is manageable through regular pain relief.
This usually includes:
- Paracetamol every 6 hours (non-negotiable)
- Anti-Inflammatory twice per day
- Stronger pain relief in between
If you take your pain relief regularly, rest and recover – you will do well.
Dr Hayward is available throughout your recovery for pain relief advice and support.
EATING AND DRINKING
You will start on some soft diet – but slowly work your way up to normal food during the recovery.
Avoid food/drinks that will irritate the healing tissue – acidic, hot and spicy, alcohol
It is extremely important to stay hydrated. At all times have a jug of iced water with you to sip away on.
The cool water helps pain relief, and becoming dehydrated can lead to re-admission to hospital!
Plan for 2 weeks off most usual activities. Even if the pain is well controlled, you are not eating and drinking as normal and will be low on energy.
Talking is fine, and a walk around the park is recommended – just take it easy.
You will still snore, have sleep issues for 2-3 weeks following surgery. This is normal, and of no concern. The tissues are all swollen, and healing. Following the initial healing you will begin to notice gradual improvement and hopefully the desired result.
The UPPP is a good operation in a correctly selected patient.
It may be performed in isolation, or in combination with surgery on other levels of the airway (nose, tongue, tongue base)
Book your appointment at Melbourne Sleep Surgery to see if UPPP could be an operation that will help you and improve your sleep.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.