What is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)?

Updated: Dec 09, 2020
  • Author: Eelam Aalia Adil, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is currently the most common surgery performed for adults with obstructive sleep apnea in the United States. The procedure increases the oropharyngeal airspace by resecting tissue in the throat, including one or more of the following: the uvula, soft palate, and tonsils. [1]

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder characterized by collapse of the pharyngeal airway during sleep. [2] This results in cessations or significant reductions of airflow known as apneas and hypopneas, which ultimately lead to behavioral and cardiovascular morbidity. [3] It is estimated that 1 in 20 adults has obstructive sleep apnea with daytime impairment, but up to 5% remain undiagnosed.

Tracheotomy was the mainstay of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea until 1981, when continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) was introduced. [4, 5] Lifestyle modifications, including weight loss and CPAP, are first-line treatment methods for obstructive sleep apnea. If these fail, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and other surgical treatment may be considered.

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