What is Uvula and Uvulectomy?
Uvula is a tiny projection of flesh that hangs from the soft palate located in the back of the mouth. It functions by filtering the bacteria and other harmful agents from the air that an individual breathes in and prevents them from infiltrating the digestive system. Uvula is also said to play a crucial role in articulation of sounds. The surgical removal of uvula is known as uvulectomy. Uvulectomy is done for treating several conditions; one of which is for treating snoring. let us take a look on this to know more about it.
Uvulectomy For Snoring: The Procedure And The Types
Usually, dilator muscles hold back the uvula from sagging. However, in some individuals, because of poor muscle tone, sagging of uvula occurs. Partial sagging of the uvula may cause snoring. this is because it blocks the airways partially. Aside from having suboptimal muscle tone, certain structural abnormalities of the uvula also tends to block airways affecting the respiratory system from functioning normally. In case of complete blockage of airways, the person may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
Uvulectomy or removal of the uvula is a procedure that is reserved as a last resort when no other form of treatment is effective for severe cases of snoring. Uvulectomy can be done in two ways of which one is a major and more complex surgery which involves removal of uvula, tonsils and adenoids, and the pharynx. The procedure is known as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. The other procedure is known as laser assisted uvulapalatoplasty, which is comparatively a simpler surgery and is known as laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty or LAUP. In case of LAUP, the uvula along with the surrounding area is anesthetized and electrocautery is used to separate the uvula. Electrocautery is used so as to control the bleeding during the procedure. It is the most common form of uvulectomy for snoring. Generally UPPP is done rarely, as it may cause some major complications.
The patients may be subjected to food restrictions for some days after uvulectomy and it may take around one month to recover from the surgery. Though some patients may get benefits from uvulectomy, some of them may not find any benefit at all. So one needs to go through all the pros and cons before deciding on uvulectomy for snoring.
Uvulectomy For Snoring: Risks And Side Effects
There may be pain for several days after uvolectomy, there may be a change in the patient’s voice after the surgery, there may be a disturbace in the sleep pattern of the patient and there also may be drainage in the nose. There is also a small risk of bleeding and infection after the uvulectomy.
Though uvulectomy for snoring may be sometimes beneficial for people who suffer from severe cases of snoring, it is done only if other ways of treatments fail. So, in case your doctor suggests uvulectomy for snoring or any other uvula problem, make sure to seek the opinion of some expert otolaryngologists before resorting to this surgical method of treatment which is uvulectomy.
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