Long-term follow-up of patients operated with Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty from 1985 to 1991

Respir Med. 2012 Dec;106(12):1788-93. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2012.09.010. Epub 2012 Oct 2.


Objectives: Short-term outcome and side effects after Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) are well recognized. However, there is a lack of knowledge of the long-term outcome and side effects after this surgery. This study was completed to investigate the outcome and side effects 20 years after UPPP for snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Methods: Medical records of patients who underwent UPPP surgery for sleep apnoea and snoring between 1985 and 1991 were investigated retrospectively. A specific questionnaire focusing on the present health profile, side effects of previous UPPP surgery and present sleeping patterns of patients was mailed out.

Results: UPPP patients, 186 (including 11 females) were identified. Of these, 35 (19%) had passed away and 7 (4%) were not located. 129 patients (mean: age 68 years, range 43-83) of the possible 144 patients answered the questionnaire (response rate 90%). At follow-up, 41 patients (32%) used continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). 66 of the patients (52%) were satisfied with the result of the operation, but 61 (47%) were not satisfied. 49 patients (38%) reported persistent side effects (problems with nasal regurgitation 18 (14%), swallowing 26 (20%), changed voice 15 (12%), and pain in the oral cavity 15 (12%).

Conclusion: Almost 50% of patients operated with UPPP were not satisfied with the result of the operation after about 20 years, and one third used CPAP at follow-up. A large proportion of patients still experienced side effects, which, after this time, are likely to be permanent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palate, Soft / surgery*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pharynx / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / rehabilitation
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Snoring / rehabilitation
  • Snoring / surgery*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uvula / surgery