Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a procedure used to remove excess tissue in the throat to widen the airway. This sometimes can allow air to move through the throat more easily when you breathe, reducing snoring. The tissues removed may include:
- The small finger-shaped piece of tissue (uvula) that hangs down from the back of the roof of the mouth into the throat.
- Part of the roof of the mouth (soft palate).
- Excess throat tissue, tonsils and adenoids, and the pharynx.
UPPP is often effective in reducing snoring initially. Over the long term, it cures snoring in 46% to 73% of those who have had this surgery.
The tongue is a frequent cause of upper airway blockage in obstructive sleep apnea. It can collapse toward the back of the throat during sleep, therefore contributing to obstruction of the airway. The collapsibility of the tongue can be improved with genioglossus advancement. The genioglossus is the primary muscle of the tongue and is attached to a small bony projection on the interior of the lower jaw. During genioglossus advancement surgery this small projection is moved forward and the tongue attachment is repositioned anteriorly so that it is less likely to collapse posteriorly and block the airway during sleep.