Uvula removal surgery indications and Side effects

Uvula removal surgery is a surgery performed very rarely. So, many of you might not have heard of this surgery before. But, Uvula removal needs to be done in some people due to certain reasons. These people should definitely know why uvula removal is done and what are the side effects of uvula surgery. So, let us explore it in detail.

What is uvula?

uvula removal

We are talking about the removal of uvula over here. But, have you ever heard of uvula in the first place. If you have not heard of the uvula, let us learn about it over here. The uvula is the other name of the palatine uvula. The roof of our mouth or oral cavity is called palate.

We have hard palate at the anterior part of palate or in the front. Then, we have soft palate at the posterior part of the palate or in the back. The uvula is a conical shaped structure or projection which is present in the center part of the posterior edge of the soft palate.

The uvula is made up of a type of tissue called connective tissue. It also contains muscle fibers to help in the movement of the uvula. There is also a certain type of glands present in the uvula. These glands are a type of serous glands, and they produce dilute or thin saliva.

Functions of Uvula:

Every structure in our body has a certain function. Do you know what is the function of uvula? Come on let us learn about it.

Closing nasopharynx:

There are three parts of our pharynx, and they are the nasopharynx, oropharynx and the laryngopharynx. The nasopharynx is connected to the nose or nasal cavity. The oropharynx is connected to the mouth or oral cavity and the laryngopharynx is connected to the larynx or voice box. Uvula closes the nasopharynx along with soft palate during eating and prevents the entry of food into the nasal cavity.

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Lubrication of throat:

The thin saliva produced by the serous glands present in the uvula helps in making the throat wet or moisturized. This prevents dryness and irritation of the throat.

Production of speech:

Uvula vibrates when we utter or speak certain sounds. This is achieved with the help of muscle fibers in the uvula. So, uvula helps in producing speech and acts as a speech organ.

Uvula removal surgery indications:

The uvula is absolutely essential for us due to its functions which are really very beneficial to us. But, uvula surgery needs to be done for certain reasons. Uvula removal surgery is called uvulectomy. Let us see the indications of uvula removal.

Snoring:

Snoring is a very common problem that we encounter in our day to day life. Many people suffer from snoring. But, in some people snoring might become very problematic as it can trouble the people sleeping near the person who is snoring.

Abnormalities of shape and size of uvula can also lead to snoring in some people. A uvula which is larger than 1.5 cm in length can lead to snoring. Also, uvula with a pointed tip can also lead to snoring in some people.

Initially snoring is treated with other remedies and lifestyle modifications like losing weight, changing of position while sleeping, changing pillows, keeping the body adequately hydrated, avoiding alcoholic drinks, etc. But, if snoring is not relieved with these measures, uvula removal surgery can be done.

Obstructive sleep apnea:

It is a serious sleep disorder. In this disorder, the muscles of the throat or pharynx relax sometimes between the sleep. This leads to stopping breathing for some time and then breathing becomes normal. Snoring is also one symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.

As these people are unable to sleep properly during night time, they sleep more during day time. They also get a headache and difficulty in concentration during day time.

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Initially, they are treated by using devices which help to keep their airway open during night time. If these devices fail to improve the symptoms, then uvula removal surgery is done.

Angioedema:

Have you ever heard of angioedema? In this condition, there is swelling of the face, lips, periorbital area, tongue, larynx, etc. It can occur in some people with hereditary enzyme deficiency and it is called hereditary angioneurotic edema. It is caused by the deficiency of an enzyme called c1 esterase.

It can also occur in some people who develop allergies to certain foods, drugs or medicines, etc. In angioedema, as there is obstruction of the airway due to swelling of intraoral tissues, it can lead to difficulty in breathing or asphyxia. So, uvula removal might be done to prevent death in these people from asphyxia.

Types of uvula surgeries:

There are 2 main types of surgeries performed on the uvula. They are:

  • LAUP or Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty
  • UPPP or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty
LAUP or Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty Procedure:

In this surgery, a type of laser called carbon dioxide laser is used to remove uvula. Along with uvula, some parts of the soft palate can also be removed. It is a simple and non-complicated surgery in comparison to UPPP surgery.

LAUP surgery is done in people who suffer from milder forms of OSA or obstructive sleep apnea, and in people with snoring. It is completed in a short span of time. The recovery after this surgery is also quick. Patients generally go back to their home on the same day the surgery is performed or done.

UPPP or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty Procedure:

This surgery is being done for many years, and it is more commonly done when compared to LAUP surgery. This surgery is done under general anesthesia. In this surgery, uvula, soft palate and tonsils are removed manually by the ENT surgeon.

Uvula removal surgery side effects:

In any type of uvula surgery, there can be some side effects. The patients who have undergone uvula removal need to be aware of these symptoms. They need to consult their ENT doctor or take their advice if their symptoms or side effects are very troublesome. Let us look at the side effects of uvula removal surgery.

  • The patient might develop a sore throat or pain in the throat after the surgery. This might persist for several days after the surgery.
  • Patients might find it difficult to breathe after the surgery is done.
  • Some patients might find it difficult to swallow food, either solids or liquids or both after the surgery.
  • Fever, which is mild (less than 101 F) can occur in some patients. But, if you develop a high fever, you need to consult our ENT doctor, as you might have developed some infection of the area which is operated.
  • You might suffer from bad breath or halitosis.
  • Your ears might ache after the surgery after some days.
  • Some patients develop voice changes after the surgery.
  • After 2 weeks after the surgery, when the scab of the wound heals and falls off, you might notice blood in your saliva.
  • There can be a development of white patches on the operated site.
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How much does uvulectomy or uvula removal surgery cost:

The cost of uvulectomy depends upon various factors. It depends on the expertise of the doctor operating you and the country in which you are getting operated. It also depends upon whether you are getting an LAUP surgery or UPPP surgery.

It also depends on any other associated complications you might have. Also, the cost of uvulectomy can vary from hospital to hospital. So, you need to call your hospital or ENT doctor to get an exact quote about the cost of the surgery.

You have learned about uvula, its functions, the need or indications for doing uvula removal, and also about the side effects of uvula surgery. I hope you this article is informative to you.

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