Laser-assisted Uvulopalatoplasty

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Laser-assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (Inpatient Care) Care Guide

  • Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) is a procedure that uses a laser to remove tissues in your throat. LAUP is used to treat loud snoring and may also be used for mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During sleep the muscles in your throat may get very relaxed. This can block part of your airway (passage from your mouth to your lungs) and lead to snoring. Snoring happens when tissues in your mouth are vibrated by the fast-moving air you breathe in. These tissues, usually the soft palate and uvula, are found in the back of your mouth. OSA can happen if your airway gets completely blocked by tissues at times when you sleep. With OSA, your body may run out of air and you may gasp or wake up to catch your breath. Ask your caregiver for more information about snoring and sleep apnea.

  • During LAUP, your caregiver uses a laser to remove parts of your soft palate or uvula. A laser is a very powerful beam of light that can cut away tissues. Your soft palate is the back part of the roof of your mouth. The uvula is the small fleshy structure that hangs down at the back of your throat. LAUP is usually done with local anesthesia and finished in a few minutes. You will be able to go home soon after the procedure is done. You may need to return for more LAUP sessions if you still snore loudly. Having LAUP may let you breathe more easily, stop your snoring, and improve your sleep.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • You may have an allergic reaction to the anesthesia medicine and have trouble breathing. After the LAUP, you may have a sore throat and a hard time swallowing for a few days. You may lose some weight when you cannot eat or drink enough. You may have bleeding, get an infection, or your voice sounds may change. You may also lose your ability to taste food for awhile. It may take some time before your snoring decreases or disappears. Your snoring may return or get worse, and you may need more LAUP sessions before your snoring disappears. You may still have OSA or get OSA, but not know it as your snoring may get better.

  • If you do not have LAUP, you will still snore and it may get louder. You may have or get OSA, which can cause you to be very tired all the time. Having OSA can lead to bad problems with increased blood pressure, and brain and heart problems. If you already have OSA, it may get worse and give you more breathing problems. Having heart and brain problems for a long time increases your risk for heart attacks and stroke. Ask your caregiver if you have questions or concerns about your procedure, treatment, or care.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

  • Anesthesia:

    • Topical anesthesia: This medicine may be sprayed inside your mouth to help decrease pain during the procedure.

    • Local anesthesia: This will numb the area where the procedure will be done. This medicine is given as a shot inside your mouth.

  • Vital signs: Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.

During your procedure:

Your caregiver uses special instruments to gently hold your mouth open. You may wear special glasses to protect your eyes from the laser's light. Your caregiver uses a laser to remove and trim tissues that block the air flowing through your throat. Incisions (cuts) are made in the soft palate on both sides of the uvula using the laser. Your caregiver removes parts of your soft palate and uvula. He can use special tools to make the laser beam reach behind your uvula. He checks around for other problems and stops any bleeding.

After your procedure:

You may be taken to a recovery area after the LAUP. Caregivers will watch you closely for problems. Do not try to get out of bed until your caregiver says it is OK. When caregivers see that you are OK, you will be allowed to go home.

  • Activity: Caregivers may let you do your usual activities when you are OK. He may not want you to lift heavy objects at first.

  • Diet: Your caregiver will give you instructions on what you should drink and eat after your procedure. Right after your procedure, you usually will only want to drink liquids, such as water, milk and soup. The next day you may be able to eat soft foods, such as pudding, yogurt, and mashed potatoes. You should avoid things that can irritate your throat, such as citrus fruit juice and spicy foods.

  • Medicines:

    • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

    • Medicines to treat pain, swelling, or fever: These medicines are safe for most people to use. However, they can cause serious problems when used by people with certain medical conditions. Tell caregivers if you have liver or kidney disease or a history of bleeding in your stomach.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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