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Sleep Apnea: Uvulopalatoplasty

Topic Overview

Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) is a technique that uses lasers to perform surgery for some sleep-related breathing disorders. It may be used if you have:

  • Loud, habitual snoring. But your snoring may return after the surgery.
  • Upper airway resistance syndrome, in which nighttime breathing is obstructed but does not actually stop. Symptoms include feeling sleepy during the day, snoring a lot, and waking up frequently during the night.
  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea, which is stopped or slowed breathing during sleep.

There is debate about whether the laser procedure is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). LAUP has not shown any major benefit for people who have sleep apnea.1 And problems swallowing and voice changes are common side effects from LAUP.

LAUP is not recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to treat sleep apnea.2

References

Citations

  1. Franklin KA, et al. (2009). Effects and side-effects of surgery for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea: A systematic review. Sleep, 32(1): 27–36.
  2. Aurora RN, et al. (2010). Practice parameters for the surgical modifications of the upper airway for obstructive sleep apnea in adults. Sleep, 33(10): 1408–1413.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Last Revised June 25, 2013

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