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  • Michael Jubinville, MPH
Publication Type:





Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is surgery to take out excess tissue from the back of the mouth and the throat.

The Mouth and Throat.

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Reasons for Procedure

UPPP is most often done to treat sleep apnea. This causes pauses in breathing during sleep. Rarely, UPPP may be done to treat severe snoring. Muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleep. When the muscles relax, the soft tissue they support can collapse into the airway. The narrowed airway can cause snoring and sleep apnea.

UPPP removes excess soft tissue to keep the airway open during sleep. It may be done if other treatments have not worked.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Infection
  • Vocal changes
  • Swallowing problems
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Scar tissue, which may lead to a blockage for the nose

This surgery does not work for everyone. Other methods to control sleep apnea may still be needed.

Things that can raise the risk of problems include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Long term health issues such as diabetes or obesity

This surgery is more successful in those who keep a healthy weight.

What to Expect

Problems To Look Out For

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Signs of infection such as fever or chills
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you were given
  • Excess bleeding or pus from the wound
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration such as not passing urine for 8 or more hours
  • Breathing problems

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements you take and if you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Specialists you may need to see
  • Tests that will need to be done before surgery




  • Surgical management of sleep apnea in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/surgical-management-of-obstructive-sleep-apnea-osa-in-adults.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. Stanford Health Care website. Available at: https://www.stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-treatments/p/palate-surgery/types/uppp.html.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. University of Iowa Health Care website. Available at: https://medicine.uiowa.edu/iowaprotocols/uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.


  • Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.