Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP).
Dr.K.O.Paulose FRCS, Consultant ENT Surgeon, Jubilee Hospital, Trivandrum, India.
Snoring occurs when there is obstruction of the free flow of air through the passages of the back of the mouth and nose. This is most often caused by excessive tissue in the uvula and soft palate.
Sleep apnea is caused by a combination of a floppy uvula and soft palate and the tongue falling back to shut off the postnasal space. Surgery to correct this involves removal of the excess soft palate and uvula with the LAUP. Since the tongue is part of the problem, not all apneas are cured by removing the extra palatal tissue
One step laser treatment-LAUP- is performed under local anesthetic or general anesthetic, I prefer the later. The CO2 laser is used to remove the uvula and trim the soft palate, with the treatment taking 20-30 minutes. The average patient will experience a sore throat while eating for seven to ten days, but speaking is not affected. Nasal regurgitation while drinking water is very rare.
Snoring and sleep apnea is eliminated or significantly reduced in most patients after one session. A second treatment may be required in 5% of patients. Patients usually report a noticeable reduction in their snoring and sleep apnea immediately. Further improvement occurs with healing 3-4 weeks postoperatively.
I have now done over 2,000 patients during the last 16 years using this one stage method with no serious complications.