Sleep Apnea: Uvulopalatoplasty
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. Research shows, though, that snoring may return, usually within 2 years after the surgery.1
- 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.2 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.3, 4
Malhotra A, White DP (2002). Obstructive sleep apnea. Lancet, 360(9328): 237–245.
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.
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.
Littner M, et al. (2001). Practice parameters for the use of laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty: An update for 2000. Sleep, 24(5): 603–619.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine|
|Last Revised||June 17, 2011|