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 April 26, 2005
Laser-assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (for Sleep Apnea)
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Laser-assisted Uvulopalatoplasty is a surgical procedure to remove tissue in the back of the mouth and upper throat in order to prevent upper airway obstruction.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition in which breathing is blocked by closure or collapse of the tissues in the throat so that no air flows through the sleeper's nose or mouth despite his efforts to breathe. Central sleep apnea is where the movement of the diaphragm (the muscle separating the chest from the abdomen) is temporarily stopped. This type of apnea is usually associated with some abnormality within the central nervous system that controls breathing. Over 90 percent of all sleep apneas are associated with upper airway obstruction; central respiratory failure without upper airway obstruction accounts for relatively few apneas. Snoring is often caused by a fluttering soft palate and uvula (the tissue that hangs from the back of the throat) which vibrates as the patient breathes. Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. An overnight sleep study is usually necessary to confirm the presence of obstructive sleep apnea.


Is snoring a sign of sleep apnea? Do you recommend an overnight sleep study? Is surgery indicated? What are the risks and benefits of laser surgery? Will the snoring be cured?

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