Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty versus laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea

Laryngoscope. 1997 Jan;107(1):76-82. doi: 10.1097/00005537-199701000-00016.


Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) was the first surgical procedure specifically designed to address the palatal abnormalities seen in many patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). For adult apneic patients, UPPP remains the most commonly performed operation. Beginning in 1993, laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) was introduced for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. LAUP differs from UPPP because it is performed in the office using only local anesthesia, thus being very cost-effective. Seventy-nine patients with OSAS underwent surgical treatment: 38 treated with LAUP and 41 with UPPP. The overall surgical response rate, defined as a >50% reduction in the postoperative respiratory disturbance index (RDI), was achieved in 21 (51.2%) of UPPP-treated and 18 (47.4%) of LAUP-treated patients. The RDI decreased from 30.3 +/- 3.7 to 22.2 +/- 4.4 events/h in the LAUP patients and from 52.1 +/- 5.0 to 25.5 +/- 2.7 events/h in the UPPP patients. The lowest oxyhemoglobin saturation (LS(aO2)) increased from 72.8 +/- 2.1 to 80.9 +/- 1.3% in the UPPP patients; there was no change in the LAUP patients. Postoperative complications in this series included minor bleeding, oral candidiasis, and temporary velopalatal insufficiency in both groups. In the carefully selected OSAS patient, LAUP should be considered a surgical alternative to UPPP. LAUP may actually be preferable to UPPP in certain cases because LAUP is cost-effective, does not require a general anesthetic or hospitalization, has very few associated complications, and time lost at work is minimal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharynx / surgery*
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uvula / surgery*