A randomized trial of laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty in the treatment of mild obstructive sleep apnea

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2003 Jan 1;167(1):15-9. doi: 10.1164/rccm.2108050.


Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) is an outpatient surgical treatment for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but to date, no controlled trials have been published. Forty-five subjects with mild OSA (apnea/hypopnea index [AHI], 10-27 per hour) were randomized to LAUP or to no treatment (control group). The AHI post-LAUP was reduced by 21% overall and to 10 or less per hour in 5 of 21 subjects (24%). Four of 24 subjects in the control group (16.7%) had an AHI of 10 or less per hour at outcome. The AHI decreased with the LAUP compared with no change with the control group at outcome. Ten subjects (48%) reported significantly improved snoring after the LAUP. There was no improvement in excessive daytime sleepiness, but there was a small improvement in quality of life (unless side effects were included in the quality of life score). Side effects were common, but serious complications did not occur. LAUP surgery is effective in some subjects with mild OSA for the treatment of snoring, but the reduction in AHI and the level of symptomatic improvement were minor overall.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Palate / surgery*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Polysomnography
  • Quality of Life
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Snoring / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uvula / surgery*