Patient Dissatisfaction With Surgical Treatments For Apnoea

Fri, Oct 08, 2010

According to a study published recently in the Journal of Laryngology & Otology, a massive 61% of patients stated they would not choose to undergo uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) again.   This is despite the fact that UPPP is one of the most commonly used surgical procedures for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea / apnea.

UPPP is a common but painful surgical treatment for apnoea / apneaThe study found that the long term success of the UPPP operation is only 45%, with the majority of patients suffering extended periods of severe post-operative pain.

Noted consequences of UPPP surgery include voice change and a tendency to regurgitate food through the nostrils.

You can read the abstract at:

As always, surgical intervention should be considered a last resort - in line with current medical protocols.  UPPP is recognised as one of the most painful forms of surgery, with a long (approx 6 week) recovery period.  Given the low and non-permanent success of this form of treatment, why choose this option when painless and highly effective alternatives exist?

That said, we have nothing against surgical intervention as treatment for snoring and apnoea / apnea when it is truly necessary.  We regularly refer patients to Ear, Nose & Throat surgeons to remove or reduce excess or floppy tissue -- but only after we've explored all other options.